China amending labor law to protect 'contractors'

Updated: 2012-06-26 15:38

(Xinhua)

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BEIJING - Lawmakers on Tuesday started to read a draft revision of the labor contract law that aims to prevent employers from exploiting workers by improperly classifying them as contractors.

The bill was submitted for its first reading at a bi-monthly session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, which runs from Tuesday to Sunday.

The number of independent contractors has increased rapidly since the labor contract law was revised in 2007 to provide better protection for employees, said Uzhitu, vice-chairman of the NPC Finance and Economic Committee.

Serious problems have emerged, as many employers tend to hire contractors long-term to replace employees, with some companies using contractors to complete the majority of their work, he said.

The legal rights of contractors have not been well protected, he said adding that contractors often deal with lower pay and fewer benefits than regular employees.

In addition, the market has seen an increasing number of contractor agencies, many of which are not run in line with laws and regulations, he said.

Under the current law, employers can hire contractors to do temporary, supplementary or backup jobs. The proposed revision creates a clearer definition for these conditions.

The bill also includes an article requiring agencies and employers to follow the principle of "equal pay for equal work" when negotiating payment for their contractors.