Seven Questions on High Temperature Allowance in China

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Seven Questions on High Temperature Allowance in China

Q: In Shanghai, the high temperature allowance standard is 300 yuan per month from June to September each year. The same applies in Beijing, Guangdong, and other places. So, can the corresponding high temperature allowance be deducted when employees are absent?

A: The laws and regulations themselves do not make any provisions for such detailed situations as whether the corresponding high temperature allowance can be deducted when absent.

In the absence of clear legal provisions, judgment should be made based on reasonableness. From the conditions for high-temperature allowances distribution in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangdong, and other places, it can be concluded that in judicial practice, employers are required to pay high-temperature allowances to employees working outdoors, regardless of the actual degree of high temperature.

Therefore, first of all, if an employee is absent for the whole month, the high-temperature allowance for that month will not be paid.

Secondly, if an employee is absent for two or three days in a month, it would be unreasonable for the employer to deduct the corresponding number of high-temperature allowances, especially if the days the employee was absent were not during hot weather.

Thirdly, if the amount of high-temperature allowance is very low, the employer could deduct it according to the corresponding number of absent days of employees. Usually employees do not dispute with the employer because of this small amount of money, so the risk is low. Therefore, for workers who do not work for the whole month and belong to the recipients of high-temperature allowance, the employer can pay the high-temperature allowance based on 21.75 days.

Q: What is the nature of the high-temperature allowance? Does it belong to wages?

A: The high-temperature allowance is part of the total wage amount in a broad sense (the narrow sense of wages only refers to wages and overtime wages, not including welfare subsidies such as annual leave wages and high-temperature allowances), so the high-temperature allowance should be included in the social security payment base and taxable income.

Q: Should the high-temperature allowance be included in the minimum wage standard?

A: NO, the minimum wage standard does not include high-temperature allowance. Employers that pay employees’ wages according to the minimum wage standard should pay high-temperature allowance separately.

Q: Should the high-temperature allowance be included in the calculation base of economic compensation and overtime wages?

A: High-temperature allowance is an incidental statutory welfare benefit. In Shanghai, the calculation base for economic compensation and overtime pay should deduct incidental statutory welfare benefits, so the high-temperature allowance is not included in the calculation base for economic compensation and overtime pay.

Q: Can cold beverages replace high-temperature allowances?

A: No, they cannot.

Q: Is it possible for the high-temperature allowance to exceed the legal standard and for the employer to split wages maliciously?

A: In practice, some employers may distribute a portion of the regular salary as a high-temperature allowance, which greatly exceeds the statutory standard of 300 yuan per month. This is done to evade taxes and may also involve malicious splitting of wages to lower the calculation base for overtime pay and severance pay. (The fourth question in the interpretation of high-temperature weather has already addressed that high-temperature allowance is not included in the calculation base of severance pay, overtime pay, and other types of compensation).

To determine whether an employer is providing benefits to their employees by voluntarily offering high-temperature allowances or maliciously splitting wages to avoid responsibilities, we can follow two steps:

First, examine the specific amount of high-temperature allowance paid by the employer and check whether it is unreasonably high.

Second, compare the wage differences between the months when high-temperature allowances were not paid and those when they were paid. If the difference is roughly the same as the amount of high-temperature allowance, then it is considered reasonable.

Q: Can the high-temperature allowance be included in the monthly salary as an agreement? For example, can it be feasible to distribute it as follows: a seasonal subsidy of 299 yuan for March to May, a high-temperature allowance of 300 yuan for June to September, a seasonal subsidy of 300.30 yuan for October to November, and a heating subsidy of 300.70 yuan for December to February?

A: No, it cannot. Regardless of whether the seasonal subsidies for spring, summer, autumn, and winter are intended to divide the salary, the employer must pay the statutory high-temperature allowance separately in accordance with the law.

Therefore, we recommend that the employer comply with the legal requirements and pay the high-temperature allowance separately on a monthly basis. Any attempt to achieve illegal purposes may result in legal risks for the employer!

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