Grace Yang

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Working out of Seattle and Beijing, Grace is Harris Bricken’s lead attorney on China labor and employment law matters and the author of a book, the China Employment Law Guide.

Latest Articles

Most of my China employment work is for employers, but in the last few years, my work representing expat employees just keeps rising and now equals nearly ten percent of my China employment practice. This increase in expat employment law is due to two things: 1) Chinese companies are hiring more expats, and 2) word has gotten out that what expats are promised by their Chinese employers seldom if ever matches what their employment contract…
If you have been following our posts on China employment law, you almost certainly know by now how crucial it is for China employers to have an up to date written employment contract with each of its employees. You should also know that the employment contract is only one of many key documents you need for each new hire. At minimum, you should also have the employee 1) review and more importantly, sign off on…
A few weeks ago, China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and its Ministry of Education (and seven other departments) released a notice regarding women’s employment. Here is a quick overview of this important notice. The notice makes clear that gender discrimination during recruitment or in hiring is prohibited. Employers are generally prohibited from limiting the gender of candidates, giving preference to any gender, or refusing to hire women. Employers are also not allowed…
As part of our China company formation work, our China lawyers help our clients with their employment matters that arise before, during and after their China entity (usually a WFOE) is formed. Among other things, we draft the employment documents needed for a newly established WFOE. When a WFOE is up and running, it needs employee agreements in place for all its employees and we usually recommend what we call an “Initial Employment Package,” which…
Amending a major term (position/pay) of your China employee’s employment contract involves considerable risk and therefore requires substantial care. Let’s consider a fairly recent case in Jiangsu province. The employee was hired as a senior engineer for product design and development. The employee made roughly RMB 7,000 per month before leaving his job. Several years into his employment, the employer essentially suspended the employee from his original position as the company was going through structural…
China craves stability. High unemployment can cause instability. Today’s South China Morning Post, in an article entitled, China’s small businesses forced to cut back on staff just to survive as economic mood sours amid trade war, talks about how China’s slowing economy is leading to government concerns about joblessness: With the Chinese economy slowing, concern has increased among Chinese policymakers about the outlook for employment, since ensuring a sufficient number of new jobs is…
Unilaterally terminating a female employee in China, especially one who is pregnant, nearly always leads to the terminated employee bringing some sort of legal action. Though there are a few legally permissible grounds for an employer unilaterally terminating a pregnant employee without having to pay severance, those grounds are few and far between and the burden will always be on the employer to prove such ground: e.g., the employee failed to satisfy her conditions of…
With widespread use of WeChat in China (it is China’s leading multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app by far), both employers and employees need to be careful with what they do and say on there. Put simply, what you say or write on WeChat may be used against you in an employment dispute. There have been written Chinese employment decisions where an employer used evidence from WeChat (such as screenshots of an employee’s…
Though China employers are generally not allowed to impose a penalty on an employee who causes his or her employer economic losses, the employer can require the employee compensate the employer for such losses by deducting funds from the employee’s wages. Nonetheless, because wage deductions are a big deal for China employees, special care by employers is required — just as with pretty much anything else involving China employees. If a China employer is to…
If you are a China employer, you need a set of Employer Rules and Regulations that are not only enforceable and up-to-date but also practical for your specific locale in China. Employer rules and regulations are so important because China does not have employment at will and this means that without enforceable rules and regulations you as an employer generally cannot discipline or terminate your employees. Let’s consider a recent case in Guangzhou City. In…