International Law at Work — February 2014: China’s interim provisions on agency workers issued

On 24 January 2014, China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) issued the Interim Provisions on Agency Workers, which will take effect on 1 March 2014. The provisions implement the agency-worker-related amendments covered in the revised Labour Contract Law released on 28 December 2012.

Agency workers can only be used for temporary, auxiliary and/or substitute positions. The revised Labour Contract Law introduced statutory definitions for these positions. MOHRSS has now clarified how to determine the term ‘auxiliary positions’ in practice.

‘Auxiliary positions’ refers to positions that provide services to the core business of the labour-receiving entity. According to the provisions, a receiver entity has to discuss the use of auxiliary positions with its employee representative congress (ERC) or all employees (if no ERC is available). The ERC, or all employees, shall then make proposals and comments. The final decision shall be made through consultation with the union or employee representatives (if no union is available) on the basis of equality, and finally has to be published to the employees. These procedures are somewhat similar to the ones required when setting up employee handbooks…

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