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New Contract Focuses on Employees' Rights

Employees' rights should be better protected by a new labor contract, due to be implemented this year, sources with the Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Labor and Social Security said yesterday.

According to one official, the capital of Guangdong Province is set to introduce a new labor contract guaranteeing workers payments based on their regular working hours.

"The specified payment system and working hours will help both employers and employees better communicate with each other when labor disputes occur," Xie Yingjian, an official with the bureau, said in an interview with China Daily.

Labour contract

The old labor contract stipulates minimum wages instead of payment based on workers' hours.

According to Xie, many workers were not paid according to their working hours.

"Some of them were not even paid during the official holidays," said Xie.

According to Chinese labour laws, employees should be paid during official holidays, including during marriage and maternity leave.

Neither does the old contract specify details for overtime.

According to Xie, employees should negotiate with employers for increased overtime pay.

"The new contract provides a possibility for workers to get payments according to their working hours," Xie said.

Workers' responsibilities

The new contract will also enable workers to better understand their responsibilities and abide by labor laws, Xie said.

But, according to Xie, employers in the city will not be forced to adopt the new contract.

"It is a sample contract for employers and their employees, providing a legal platform for them to seek mutual benefits and protect their rights," said Xie.

In another development, Guangdong Province has set up a medical organization for examining employeees' ability to work.

The organization was formed by 1,390 doctors from 19 hospitals to ensure standard inspection of employees' ability to work.

At present, about 100,000 workers in Guangdong undergo the working ability examination every year.

(China Daily October 11, 2005)

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