Not acceptable to terminate employment due to virus related reasons

中国:不得因新冠肺炎疫情解除劳动关系

On 20 April China’s Supreme People’s Court issued guideline for virus related civil cases on employment, consumer protection, sale of medical equipment, protection of SME’s assets etc. Chinese courts are now instructed to reject companies terminating employees based on virus related reasons.

2020年4月20日,中国最高人民法院出台了《关于依法妥善审理涉新冠肺炎疫情民事案件若干问题的指导意见(一)》(“《意见》”),该《意见》主要就劳动、消费者保护、销售医疗设备、保障中小企业财产等方面提出指导意见。该《意见》要求中国各级人民法院作出不予支持用人单位因新冠疫情相关原因解雇员工的裁决。

The last months we have seen companies terminate employment based on people not abiding by China’s quarantine rules. German company Bayer sited breach of company rules as basis for a termination of employee not abiding by 14 days quarantine rules after overseas travel. Termination of employment based on breach of company rules remain valid reason for termination. The new Guideline prohibits termination based on an employee having been infected, suspected of being infected or in quarantine due to disease or resent travel.

我们在最近的新闻报导中关注到了一系列因员工不遵守隔离规定而导致劳动关系被终止的案例。例如,德国制药公司拜耳在3月曾以违反公司规章制度为由,解雇了一名违反14天强制隔离规定的员工。迄今为止,以违反公司规章制度为由在疫情期间解雇员工仍是有效的。《意见》禁止用人单位以员工是新冠肺炎确诊患者、疑似新冠肺炎患者、因疾病或近期出行而被依法隔离的人员而解除劳动关系的情况。

Employees unable or unwilling to work
员工无法工作或不愿工作

The new Guideline clarifies that any absence caused by being infected, suspected of being infected or in mandatory quarantine period does not provide legal basis for termination of employment.

该《意见》明确了因被感染或疑似被感染或处于强制隔离期而导致员工无法到岗的情形不能作为终止劳动关系的合法理由。

Should an employee however refuse to return to work without appropriate reason, the company may terminate the employment based on violating company attendance policies and thus be entitled to unilaterally terminate the employment in accordance with Labour Contract Law, Article 39.

但如果员工无正当理由拒绝返岗,用人单位可以依据员工违反公司出勤政策为由并按照《中华人民共和国劳动合同法》第39条的规定,单方面解除与该员工的劳动关系。

Temporary release 
临时停工

Under the Chinese labour law regime, a company is allowed to release employees temporarily from their work duties.

根据中国的劳动法以及相关规定,公司可以暂时停止员工的工作职责

If a company ceases its entire operations, the employees are normally completely released from all work duties, but some essential personnel continue to work such as e.g. office manager. The employees remain legally employed by the company and the company is obliged to maintain and pay the employees’ social insurance and pay full salary for the first month. Beyond the first pay cycle, the company is only obligated to pay ‘suspension’ salary in accordance with the local rules. In Shanghai, that means paying the 100% minimum wage (RMB 2,480 per month) to those employees who are completely released from work obligation, whilst these employees are to be compensated with a minimum of 70% of the minimum wage if in Beijing.

如果一家公司停止其整体运营,员工通常完全停止其所有工作职责,但仍有一些必要人员,例如办公室经理可以继续工作。员工仍然是公司的合法雇员,公司有义务以与正常工作期间相同的方式维持和支付员工的社会保险,并且仍应支付第一个月的全额工资。如停工超过一个工资支付周期的,公司只需要按照当地规定支付“停工”工资。在上海,这意味着至少要向暂停工作的员工支付100%的最低工资(每月人民币2480元),而如在北京则必须支付至少70%的最低工资。

Remain prepared
作好准备

Chinese labour law grants extensive rights to employees. Given the extraordinary nature of the current circumstances, including implementation of local rules, and the consequence of wrongfully termination of employment being double severance payment, companies should carefully consider their options before implementation.

中国劳动法赋予员工较大的保护权利。考虑到当前情况的特殊性,包括各地执行的当地法规以及违法解除劳动关系可能需向员工支付双倍补偿金的后果,公司在实施相关措施前应仔细考虑其选择。

To mitigate risks of employment disputes, companies should try to reach consensus with their employees whilst remaining compliant with local and national regulations. Companies are encourage to review their employee handbook to ensure that it remain compliant and secure proper implementation of said handbook, including signatures from all employees as only then can breach of the handbook be used as valid reason for termination of employment. Companies are advised to keep record of all communications in case any dispute later on arises.

为减轻劳动纠纷的风险,公司应在遵守当地法律法规的前提下与员工达成共识。我们建议公司审查其员工手册,以确保其符合规定并在需要时得以正确参照该手册执行,包括检查所有员工是否签收了该员工手册,因为只有这样才能将违反员工手册作为解除劳动合同的有效理由。建议公司保留所有沟通记录,以便日后发生争议时可以备查。

Chinese central and local authorities may continue to issue new policies and guidelines to address new issues arising from the extraordinary times. Companies are advised to continue to monitor changes in employment matters.

中国中央和地方政府可能会持续发布新的政策和指导方针,以应对特别时期所引发的一系列新问题。我们也建议公司持续关注劳动关系政策的相关变化。

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    Not acceptable to terminate employment due to virus related reasons

    中国:不得因新冠肺炎疫情解除劳动关系 On 20 April China’s Supreme People’s Court issued guideline for virus related civil cases on employment, consumer protection, sale of medical equipment, protection of SME’s assets etc. Chinese courts are now instructed to reject companies terminating employees based on virus related reasons. 2020年4月20日,中国最高人民法院出台了《关于依法妥善审理涉新冠肺炎疫情民事案件若干问题的指导意见(一)》(“《意见》”),该《意见》主要就劳动、消费者保护、销售医疗设备、保障中小企业财产等方面提出指导意见。该《意见》要求中国各级人民法院作出不予支持用人单位因新冠疫情相关原因解雇员工的裁决。

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