In China, the rules for part-time workers are not nearly as developed as the rules for full-time employees. In fact, it was only a few years did China begin legally recognizing part-time employees. The 1994 Labor Law applied only  to full-time employees and did not even mention part-time employees. In 2008, the revised PRC Labor Contract Law for the first time recognized part-time employees on a statutory level.

Unlike full-time employees, part time employees do not require a written contract. This does not, however, mean that the hiring and retention of a part-time worker is any less complicated than for a full-time employee and for the reasons set forth below, our China lawyers advise our clients to execute written contracts with both their full-time and their part-time employees. One reason to have a written contract with your part-time employees is to ensure that your employee understands the terms of employment and his or her work responsibilities and obligations. A contract makes clear that your employee (be she full or part time) agrees to obey all company rules and regulations. It can be particularly important to get something in writing regarding your company rules for protecting your confidential information, trade secrets and intellectual property.

A written contract also can serve as proof that your part-time employee is indeed a part-time employee. Towards that end, the contract should have a provision clearly stating the part-time nature of the position. At minimum, we typically like to put the following into the labor contracts we draft between our clients and their part-time employees

  • The working hours
  • The term/duration of the employment agreement
  • A description of the work the part-time employee will be performing
  • The part-time employee’s wages
  • Applicable labor protections and labor conditions

Note that you are not allowed to set a probation period for a part-time employee.

Under China’s Labor Contract Law, a part-time employee can work no more than four hours a day and no more than 24 hours in a week. If the part-time employee works more than these hours, you are at risk of “converting” him or her to a full-time employee, with all the legal obligations that go along with that status.

Chinese law requires that you pay your part-time employee wages at least every 15 days. This is different from the rules for full-time employees who are usually paid monthly. As with full-time employees, the salary you pay to your part-time employees must meet the local minimum wage requirement.

Chinese law allows either the employer or the part-time employee to terminate the labor contract at any time, without prior notice. As a general rule, the employer is not required to pay any economic compensation to the employee.

Employers are also normally required to pay only work-related injury insurance for their part-time employee but because every locale in China seems to have different rules on this, we always check first with the relevant authorities to figure out our client’s benefit obligations for part-time employees.

  • Kirk Alcond

    Grace… This is an excellent article, congratulations on a job well done. You have covered many important facts about part time employees in a concise, easy to understand format that will prove very valuable for any employers who happen to read it. And, I am sure that over time, it will also assist many Chinese students in gaining part time jobs that will greatly add to their professional experience.

  • Jean

    Great article! This article gave me a good idea of what constitutes a part-time employment. A couple of questions though: do part-time employees receive paid holidays? Are schools required to pay part-time local teachers during summer/winter vacations, or just for the days they actually work?