Draft would shield workers

Updated: 2012-06-27 01:44

By Chen Xin (China Daily)

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Legislators on Tuesday got their first opportunity to review a draft amendment to the Labor Contract Law that is aimed at preventing the overuse of labor outsourcing and at ensuring people are treated equally in their workplaces.

Draft would shield workers

Liu Jun, a migrant worker from Henan province, plays with his child recently at a construction site in Hami, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Zhang Jiangang/for China Daily

Wu Ritu, vice-chairman of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress, said too many employment agencies are outsourcing labor. He also said outsourced employees tend to be overworked and do not enjoy the same wages or social security benefits as regular workers who are doing the same jobs.

"The overuse of labor outsourcing will not only harm workers' legal rights but also bring harm to regular employment and the labor contract system," Wu said when explaining the draft to members of the NPC Standing Committee on Tuesday.

A report released last year by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the nation's top trade union organization, said the country is home to more than 60 million outsourced workers and that they make up almost 20 percent of the urban workforce.

The Labor Contract Law allows employment agencies to be established to provide companies with workers for temporary, subsidiary and substitute positions.

The draft would define those three types of positions for the first time.

Temporary positions refer to jobs that last for no longer than six months; subsidiary positions refer to jobs that provide supportive service to main posts; and substitute positions refer to vacancies left by regular workers who leave their jobs to take vacations or study full time, it says.

The draft also explicitly stipulates that labor outsourcing can only be used to fill temporary, subsidiary and substitute positions and that outsourced workers should receive the same pay as those who are doing the same jobs as they are for the same employers.

Unlike people who are employed directly by companies, outsourced workers have labor contracts with employment agencies. Those organizations pay the workers' wages and, in return for providing outsourcing services, charge employers commission and management fees.

The draft would also require employment agencies to have at least 1 million yuan ($157,000) in registered capital, up from 500,000 yuan now.

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