CHINA | Understanding Employee Leave Basics

Besides annual leave and sick leave, there several other types of employee leave provisioned under the Labour Law. For compliance and consistency, we explain the employee leave basics below.

Statutory Paid Annual Leave

Employees who have worked for one full year or more are entitled to statutory annual leave with pay. The duration of leave for each employee is determined by reference to the accumulated years of work (with all employers, not just the current employer).

Calculations of Statutory Annual Leave

Employment DurationNumber of Annual Leave
One year or more but less than ten years5 days of paid annual leave
Ten years or more but less than twenty years10 days of paid annual leave
Twenty years or more15 days of paid annual leave

The statutory holidays and rest days stipulated by the State are not included in the annual leave calculation. Generally, annual leave should be taken during the current calendar year. However, if the employer cannot grant annual leave due to operational needs, prior consent from the employee shall be obtained and 300% of the employee’s daily wage for each day of untaken annual leave shall be paid.

In addition to statutory annual leave, the employer may also grant additional days of annual leave as employee welfare according to the internal policy of the employer. And such additional annual leave is not legally obliged to be paid 300% of salary if not taken.

Statutory Holidays

Employers shall arrange paid holidays by law. Holidays include New Year’s Day, Spring Festival, International Labour Day, National Day and other holidays provisioned by law. Specific holiday arrangements are published by the State Council every year.

Sick Leave

Sick leave means an employee who suffers from an illness or a non-work-related injury ceases working or accepts treatment. And needs to take leave according to the doctor’s advice. The period of sick leave is normally determined by the doctor’s advice and medical certificate. It depends on the severity of the employee’s illness or injury and the professional advice given by the doctor.

The medical treatment period refers to the period an employee takes leave due to illness or non-work-related injury and the employer is forbidden from terminating the employment contract. Generally, the medical period is accumulated from the first day of sick leave, and the maximum days are based on the employee’s length of service. The actual calculation of the medical treatment period may vary according to local regulations.

During the sick leave, the employer shall pay a sick leave wage to the employee. The employer is not required to pay the full wage but to a certain proportion of the wage following national or local legislations, yet the sick leave pay shall not be lower than 80% of the minimum wage standard.

Maternity Leave

The national standard for maternity leave is that female employees are entitled to 98 days of maternity leave. For female employees experiencing difficult childbirth, 15 extra days may be added. If the female employee gives birth to more than one child in a single instance (twins, triplets, etc.), 15 extra days may be added for each child. Many provinces and municipalities have formulated more favourable local policies based on the local population, economics and other development situation.

Other Leave

Other types of leave granted to employees include wedding leave, paternity leave, funeral leave, family planning home leave and public leave.

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