Law Says Full Salary Despite Coronavirus – Law In A Minute

Regarding the newest official updates from the Labour Bureau, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and provincial governments, I am glad to bring you good news regarding full salary in February.

Your boss is legally required to pay you a full Pay Cycle, which means a full month of wages, before resorting to “living expenses” based on a percentage of the minimum wage standard that varies from province. 

Therefore, turn him down if he offers to pay you 1800 Yuan for February just because the school will not open until March.

Beijing requires this amount to be no lower than 70% of the Beijing minimum wage standard; Guangdong 80%; Shanxi 75%; Zhejiang 80%. Not all provinces have published their percentage yet, but it will be around 70%-80%.

Pay Cycles vary from company to company, and it does not necessarily start from the day you receive your salary. The exact date is written on your contract, and usually it is the start of each month for the purpose of easy accounting. Some companies may start the pay cycle on the day you arrive. 

For example, if your pay cycle starts on the 1st of each month, your boss has to pay you your wages until the 1st of March even if it is not open. If your pay cycle starts on the 20th of each month, your boss has to pay you in full until the 20th of February. What happens after the 20th of February? 

This is only when your boss may start giving you “living expenses”, but note that he must discuss with you first before making this decision. Other methods like using up paid annual leave days may also be implemented, but again, he must discuss with you and not just deduct them.

What if your boss asks you to work online from 2/2 to 2/7 and take a pay cut for this week?

Decline. Working online is still considered as working, and you do not need to accept a pay cut just because you work at home. This also applies to any day after 2/9. Teaching online, making powerpoints or correcting homework is all considered as working, and you are entitled to full pay.

I am stuck outside China and there are no flights back to China! My boss says only “living expenses” will be given to me and that is only a measly 1500 Yuan!

This depends on when exactly your company reopens. 

Situation 1: Your school has delayed the semester until 1st of March.

Answer: Full salary. Your employer may show you some “legal basis” and say: the law stipulates that employees that cannot get back to Beijing, for example, on 2/9 will be fired/be given only 1500 as living expenses. This is untrue as your school reopens on March 1, and as long as you are able to return before February ends, you are good to go. 

Situation 2: Your company in Shenzhen reopens on 10th of February.

Answer: True for this situation. You have to arrive on this date, or use your annual leave days/only receive living expenses for this case. However, this does not apply if you are being quarrantined, or stuck in cities like Wuhan where there is an official lockdown.

Another trap to be careful of is where your employer might say: Although our school starts on March 1, you need to teach online for the time being. As you are in England right now and there is a time difference, you will not be able to  properly perform your duties. Therefore, you will either receive living expenses or have your annual leave days deducted. 

This is completely wrong and unlawful. As long as you are able to complete your job duties, although this might mean teaching online at 3 am in the morning, your employer has no reason at all to give you a pay cut.

Dates For Legally Starting Work At The Office

Hubei Province: Not earlier than 2/13 24:00

Jiangsu Province: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00

Zhejiang Province: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00

Guangdong Province: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00

Chongqing City: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00

Fujian Province: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00

Jiangsu Province: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00

Anhui Province: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00    

Shanghai City: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00

Jilin Province: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00

Yunnan Province: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00

Jiangxi Province: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00

Shandong Province: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00

Heilongjiang Province: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00

Hunan Province: Not earlier than 2/9 24:00