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Many bosses don't pay Chinese holiday overtime: Survey

Publication Date : 16-10-2012


Many employees who worked over the China's Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday failed to receive their overtime pay, an online survey has found.

The survey, conducted by micro-blogging platform Sina Weibo, polled 9,224 netizens, and found 73 per cent of respondents claimed they worked from Sept. 30 to Oct. 7 but did not receive overtime pay.

The eight-day Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday comprised four days of State-mandated annual leave and four weekend days.

Chinese law stipulates that workers should receive overtime pay, or three times their regular pay, if they work each day of the State-mandated holiday. Workers can receive twice their regular daily pay if they work over the weekend.

Li Ran, 26, who works at a clothing store in a shopping mall in Beijing, worked all eight days over the holiday, but said she will not get any extra money.

"It's common that salespersons like us do not get overtime pay, no matter when we work during statutory holidays or over the weekend. But I was glad that my boss allowed me two days off after the eight-day holiday ended," said Li.

Li also said that when she and her colleagues negotiated wages with the employer and signed a contract, the employer said nothing about overtime pay.

Li is not the only one who did not receive overtime pay for work during the holiday.

A chef at a restaurant in Beijing, who only gave his surname as Wang, said he came to the capital from Shandong province in 2009 and has worked for the restaurant since then.

"I never get any overtime pay," said Wang, 31, who took only three days off during the long holiday.

Wang, who earns 3,500 yuan (US$560) a month, said he has previously been refused overtime pay.

"Once I asked the restaurant owner for overtime pay after I worked two days during the Spring Festival, the employer refused and said overtime pay was already included in my wages," Wang said.

"I will not ask for overtime pay again because I'm worried the boss may get angry and fire me," he said. "Unemployment is worse than no overtime pay."

Chinese law allows workers to report labour rights infringements, such as wage delay or not getting overtime pay, to labour authorities.

But to report such incidents to labour authorities, workers must give their real names. Experts said this discourages people from reporting their employers as they are afraid of losing their jobs.

Ye Jingyi, a labour law professor at Peking University, said that as a general rule, most big enterprises and government-affiliated institutions are reliable when granting overtime pay, but in many small private firms, overtime pay is often absent.

"Labour authorities should punish those who violate the law and they can put employers who do not pay overtime to workers on a blacklist and work with tax authorities to not allow them favourable employment or tax policies in the future," she said.

Trade unions should also play a bigger role in this regard, Ye added.


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