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Labor law needs to be implemented rather than amended
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The new Labor Contract Law should be implemented well before being amended, a senior labor official said on Sunday.

"After it came into effect in January, the law was welcomed by employees and most employers, but we also noticed different views and comments," Vice Minister of Labor and Social Security Sun Baoshu told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session.

The 98-article law, which took effect on Jan. 1, entitles employees with more than 10 years of service to have permanent contracts that bar dismissal without cause.

It also requires employers to contribute to workers' social security accounts and set wage standards for workers on probation and those working overtime.

The law has aroused worries that it will affect the investment environment and raise labor costs. Critics also say that permanent work contracts could put businesses in a weak position.

However, said Sun: "Such an interpretation shows an incorrect understanding or lack of understanding of the law."

Compared with previous regulations, the law relaxes restrictions for ending a contract and improves labor relations, which would actually improve the investment environment, he noted.

Sun said that higher labor costs were reasonable. "It is not right and illegal for companies to pursue high profits at low cost, which means at the expense of workers' rights and interests."

He said that to step up implementation of the law, the government would enhance publicity and inspection. Regulations on enforcement are to be drafted so as to help people better understand it.

(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2008)

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