How do Chinas employers pay salary during 2019-nCoV outbreak?

Heidy Han | Partner

W&H Law Firm Shanghai Office

Member of Intl. Bar Association 

E: [email protected]

WeChat: 13818408820

Pursuant to the latest policy published on 7 February 2020 by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the PRC ("Policy"), we provide you with the following advices on how to pay salary during the 2019-nCoV outbreak.


Who return to work


For the employees who return to work, no matter they work from home or work in the office, your company is responsible for paying the normal salary as stipulated in the labor contract. 

However, in case a company has difficulties in business operation due to the 2019-nCoV situation, the Policy encourages the company to negotiate with its employees about the following: adjusting salaries, rotating posts, cutting shifts and shortening working hours. 


Who delay in returning to work

For the employees who delay in returning to work, the Policy requires the company to allow its employees to first use statutory paid annual leave and the companys welfare leave (if any). 

Thereafter, the company may agree with its employees about their salaries with reference to the provisions related to suspending business operation, which provide that the company shall pay the normal salary during one payment cycle since its suspension, and from the second payment cycle on, the company shall pay its employees salaries based on their workload but their salaries shall not be less than the minimum salary standard as required by the local authority.


For example, an employee should return to work from February 10, but he or she affected by the 2019-nCoV outbreak delays in returning to work (excluding working from home), and he or she has 3 days paid annual leave and 2 days companys welfare leave in 2020. As such, the employee should resume work from February 17. If the employee still cannot return to work given the 2019-nCoV situation, the payment cycle is calculated from the date of February 17. 


During the period from February 17 to March 16 (given that your company currently pays the staff monthly), the employee should be paid his or her normal salary as stated in the labor contract. If the employee still cannot return to work after March 16, your company may agree with the employee that his or her salary needs to be adjusted but no less than the minimum salary standard of Shanghai (RMB 2,480 per month in 2019) if your company is incorporated there.


Who are being quarantined


For the employees who are suspected to have contacted the 2019-nCoV or to be in close contact with a pathogen carrier and are cleared after quarantine, the company shall pay their normal salaries for the quarantine period. If the employees are diagnosed with the 2019-nCoV disease, the company shall pay their sick benefits.

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