A law firm I use sends out a regular newsletter to their business clients. This arrived in my mailbox some time back. At first I just read it and thought ‘interesting’. But reading it again, I think it may be of interest to some Samizdatistas.
Sections 1 and 2 seem reasonable enough. Section 3 is iffy. But, starting with section 4, some things definitely look like, if actually enforced, they will have a substantial effect on business in China and its overall economic trends. Things like this are what may provide concern for China’s continued economic growth:
Current Law – With no guidance or requirements in the current law, employers often draft their own employee handbooks, manuals and work rules. Enforcement is very similar to that in the United States, with fairness and degree of conduct weighed.
Draft Law – Essentially, every employer policy, rule and procedure that governs its employees must be discussed and approved by the union or employee representative. Rules unilaterally imposed by the employer will be void. The term “employee representative” is new and remains undefined in the draft law. There are also unique challenges for employers posed by this new provision. This provision fails to recognize the fluid nature of employer policies and rules. As stated, every change must be approved by the trade union or employee representative, which will inevitably lead to delay in timely implementation. And, despite the trade union’s power to effect employee policies and rules, an employer is ultimately on the hook for what is implemented. Finally, it is worth noting that this provision does not contain any incentive for the trade unions and/or employee representative to negotiate with employers.
We have a lot of commenters and contributors who travel to China; presumably some of them have business there. I would be interested in knowing what they think of these proposed labor market reforms. Will China actually try to enforce all of these parts of the law, or is it just for show? And if they do enforce it, what will the repercussions be?