Managing China HR During the Coronavirus


Table of Contents

The Coronavirus in China definitely brings concern to foreign companies operating in China. This article will guide you through the policies and benefits the local Chinese government has released to ease the burden for companies during this period. In the meantime, point out the important points that employers or a company HR shall release for handling their employment and HR issues.

In order to ease the burden for companies, each province and city government has come out with different policies to help. For example, the Shanghai government has issued a series of policies to help companies pacify anxieties during the Coronavirus period.

Implement a policy of “stable post-return” for unemployment insurance in Shanghai

In order to effectively reduce the impact of the epidemic on the production and operation of the company, the Municipal Government will continue to return 50% of the total amount of unemployment insurance paid by the employers and their employees in the previous year to the employers who do not lay off employees, reduce the number of employees, and meet the requirements in 2020 policy.

Postpone the adjustment (increasing) of social security payment base in Shanghai

As employees’ average salary increases year by year, the corresponding social security payment will increase yearly on April, and the cost of company payment will also increase accordingly. In 2020, Shanghai government will postpone the social security adjustment from April to July to ease the burden of social security payment for the company.

Extend the tax declaration deadline in Shanghai

The Shanghai state administration of taxation has confirmed that the tax filing deadline in February will be extended to the 24th of February. For taxpayers and withholding agents who file monthly returns, the statutory deadline for filing and paying tax in February 2020 will be extended nationwide to the 24th of February (The original application deadline is the 15th of February).

Payroll calculation and employment relationship-related Q&A:

What obligations should the company assume for employees in quarantine or diagnosed?

For new coronavirus infected pneumonia patients, suspected patients, and close contacts:

  • during isolation
  • treatment
  • medical observation and isolation measures by the government or
  • other emergency measures

that interfere with normal workflows of the companies’ employees, companies shall pay the remuneration in accordance with the normal attendance (It should include all kinds of fixed salary items during normal attendance, in principle, it does not include the variable salary items that need to be determined according to the performance appraisal)

The company cannot base on the relevant provisions of the labor contract law to terminate an employee’s labor contract.

During this period, if the labor contract expires, it shall be extended to the expiration of the medical treatment period, the expiration of the medical observation period, the expiration of the isolation period, or the termination of the emergency measures taken by the government.

How to calculate the salary during the period of delayed return to workdays?

For example, in Shanghai, for the extended Spring Festival holiday period and the implementation of the municipal government about the return to work requirements of the company workers not earlier than 12pm 9th of February, the company shall pay the monthly wages according to the standard agreed in the labor contract:

  • Where the employees provide normal labor for the company involved in ensuring the operation of the city, preventing and controlling the epidemic, and the people’s livelihood, and other companies involved in the important national economy and people’s livelihood, companies shall arrange for supplementary rest days or pay overtime wages in accordance with the relevant provisions on working overtime on rest days
  • Employees who work at home according to the requirement of the company, the company shall give compensatory rest or pay overtime salary according to the concerned regulation that works overtime on rest days.

Due to the effect of epidemic disease, if companies require employees to postpone return to work, how should companies pay the salary?

For example in Shanghai, companies should pay employees’ salary which refers to the standard of the labor contract to pay wages in one salary pay cycle;

What is the payroll rule for February?

Shanghai: 1st Feb is the holiday payday, 3rd Feb-7th Feb are the rest days.

Hubei: 1st Feb, 3rd Feb-7th Feb, 10th Feb-13th Feb are the holiday payday;

Other areas: the 1st Feb is the holiday payday, the 3rd Feb-7th Feb day is the working days.

How to handle employees’ annual leaves and other types of leaves during the Coronavirus period?

1. The processing of the annual leave already applied: Before the outbreak of the epidemic, the annual leave originally applied for should be automatically canceled and the corresponding number of annual leave days shall be returned.

2. The company arranges annual leave: After the resumption of work, due to the needs of production and operation, the company can arrange annual leave as a whole and collectively. In principle, the arrangement of individual annual leave should be agreed upon through consultation.

3. Sick leave, maternity leave, and paternity leave previously applied for: It may not be delayed, normal count.

4. Marriage leave already applied before: It will be better to consider automatic cancellation and refund of the holiday days to the employees.

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