Employment law in the People’s Republic of China (‘the PRC’) affords employers and employees a certain degree of freedom in creating the terms of their working relationship. Nonetheless, the National People’s Congress (‘the NPC’) has supreme authority to enact laws governing employment. The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (‘the MOLSS’), a department of the State Council, is responsible for drafting
national employment laws, and for overseeing the enactment of local regulations by the labour administrative departments of regional governments. The most significant statutes regulating employment in the PRC are the Labour Law of the People’s Republic of China, effective on 1 January 1995 (‘the Labour Law’), and the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Employment Contracts, effective on 1 January 2008 (‘the ECL’).
The laws of the PRC may be interpreted by the judiciary, which comprises three levels of courts: the Supreme People’s Court; the local people’s courts (further divided into three levels of authority); and special people’s courts (military and maritime courts). Although decisions and opinions released by PRC courts do not constitute binding precedent as they would in common law jurisdictions, courts may rely on them as
persuasive authority in subsequent employment arbitration and litigation.