7 Rules About Part-Time Jobs in China

7 Rules About Part-Time Jobs in China
Jan 31, 2020 By Cian Dineen , eChinacities.com

Foreigners do not usually take up part-time jobs in China due to the difficulty of obtaining a work visa and residence permit, which allow expats to legally work in China. The government typically only issues work visas for full-time employees, but as long as your employer is willing to go through the hassle of sponsoring you (which may mean registering you as full time), it’s not technically impossible. Another exception to the rule is international students who have, since 2018, been able to take up part-time employment with permission from their university and the local exit-entry bureau. If you find yourself in either of these camps and want to know more about the rules surrounding part-time jobs in China, read on.

part-time jobs in China
Photo: Brooke Cagle 

1. It’s illegal to take up part-time work outside of your visa sponsor

Although many expats have under-the-table side hustles in China, it is technically illegal to take up any kind of paid employment outside of the company that sponsors your work visa. If you are in China on a Z-visa and are offered extra work not connected to your primary employer, therefore, accept it at your own risk and, it goes without saying, keep it on the down-low.

2. Written contracts are unnecessary but useful

Legally speaking, written contracts are not needed for part-time jobs in China. Oral agreements are all you need, but potentially a recipe for disaster. Even though written contracts might not be mandatory for part-time work, most employers probably don’t know this and won’t take umbrage if you insist on one.

With fewer legal protections and therefore larger scope and potential for being cheated  as a part-time employee, a written contract will be your only real defense if any disputes do emerge. Try to get your arrangement, however casual, down in writing before you start.

3. Probation periods are illegal for part-time employees

While they may be common practice in full-time employment, probation periods (such as three months working at half-pay) are actually illegal for part-time employees in China. Despite this fact, some companies will still try to impose a probation period on you, offering you a reduced salary for the first three months or even no payment at all until at the end of the probation period.

Not only is this illegal, but it’s a real red flag that the employer intends to cheat you. Don’t let anyone persuade you into accepting a probation period for part time work, no matter how attractive the end deal appears.

4. There are limits to how many hours you can work

The law is actually very strict in China when it comes to defining what is classed as part-time and full-time employment. Some employees may not be aware of the difference and as a result run the risk of unintentionally crossing that line.

The law states that a part-time employee cannot work more than five hours per day, and 24 hours a week. Any more and you run the risk of being classed as a full-time employee. Be mindful of how much time you are working and remind your boss that you need to scale it back, or be taken on as a full-time employee, if you start creeping over the threshold.

5. You should be paid within 15 days

While full-time employees are typically paid monthly in China, part-time workers actually have the right to be paid within 15 days. This may come as a big surprise to most part-time employees in China, as the reality in some companies is very different. It’s not unusual to see companies asking part-time workers to accept payment periods that are not only longer than 15 days, but considerably longer than full-time employees’ payment cycles — sometimes up to two months after the work was completed.

But 15 days is the law, so don’t be afraid to bring it to your boss’s attention. When working part-time in China, it’s always best to try and avoid long payment periods that could expose you to the risk of never being paid if something happens to the company or your working relationship with it.

6. You have the right to limited social insurance

Social Insurance is an important part of full-time employment. It’s a fund that all companies and employees should be paying into each month that provides a social welfare benefit that employees can use, for example, to pay medical bills at local hospitals.

While you may think social insurance wouldn’t extend to part-time employees, it does, at least at the most basic level. The company is not obligated to pay into your social insurance fund like they are if you’re in full-time employment, but they are legally bound to cover the medical costs of any work-related injury incurred. Along with injuries incurred as a result of workplace accidents, this could potentially include less obvious ailments, such as repetitive strain, muscle pain, and stress-related symptoms. Be sure to look into it if you begin suffering from such conditions during the course of part-time work in China.

7. But you have no right to annual leave or termination notice

Although some people may be pleasantly surprised to hear about the law regarding probation periods and social insurance for part-time workers in China, unfortunately that’s pretty much the extent of your rights.

Part-time employees do not enjoy any rights to paid annual leave, and while it is not impossible to negotiate, it’s extremely unlikely your employer would agree. That said, however, as a part-time worker you can probably take as many unpaid holidays as you like as long as you give prior notice and organize your work accordingly.

At the same time, part-time employees in China are given no protection when it comes to termination. Companies are not obliged to give any notice, nor do they need to pay any compensation, if they decide to let you go.

In conclusion, part-time employee rights in China are better than most people would probably imagine. Sure, you don’t have paid annual leave and your contract can be terminated at any time, but probation periods are illegal, the payment periods are short, and you have access some social insurance. As long as your part-time employment is legal, you have a written contract and you don’t mind the lack of benefits and rights compared to full-time employment, you can’t go too far wrong.

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I read an article on echinacities recently, foreigners may be allowed to work part time. Hopefully it will bring some light into this issue

Oct 05, 2020 09:29 Report Abuse



Good article with useful information for those even though many foreigners do not take up part time job.

Sep 15, 2020 11:18 Report Abuse



Good thing I'm enlightened, now I know what I should expect when picking a Part time job in China

Apr 07, 2020 21:59 Report Abuse



8) given that a part time job is in breach of your visa conditions, you have NO rights, so any of the points 2 to 7 are complete BS. Can ECC PLEASE STOP promoting part time jobs?

Jan 31, 2020 18:27 Report Abuse