China is tightening its regulations on labor dispute mediation so that employees can find ways to better protect their labor rights¸ and so that employers treat labor disputes more seriously. In a recent document¸ China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS) has required large and medium-sized enterprises to establish labor dispute committees to ensure an effective communication and dialogue mechanism exists between employers and employees.
The “Regulations on Enterprise Labor Dispute Negotiation and Mediation (MHRSS Decree No.17)¸” issued on November 30¸ detail negotiation and mediation procedures when labor disputes take place¸ and emphasize enterprises’ obligations to put an operative mediation mechanism in place. The new regulations will take effect from January 1¸ 2012.
Negotiation on labor issues
Where there is a labor dispute¸ one involved party may negotiate a resolution with the other involved party by scheduling a meeting. An employee may also require the enterprise’s labor union to participate or assist in the negotiations.
Where one involved party raises a request for negotiation but the other involved party fails to respond within five days after the request is made¸ it can be regarded that the other party is not willing to negotiate and the party requesting negotiation may therefore turn to related organizations to ask for mediation or arbitration.
Where the negotiating parties reach an agreement¸ a written settlement accord shall be signed and used to enforce both parties’ future implementation of the resolution.
Mediation of labor disputes
A large/medium-sized enterprise shall establish a labor dispute mediation committee and hire (a) full-time or part-time mediator(s).
A branch of the large/medium sized enterprise may establish a mediation committee based on its actual needs.
A small/micro sized enterprise may establish a mediation committee¸ or appoint (an) employee(s) as the mediator(s)¸ based on election/recommendation by both the employer and employees.
An enterprise shall provide office space and necessary working expenses to support the work of its mediation committee.
A company’s mediation committee is responsible for:
- Publicizing laws¸ regulations and policies related to labor right protection
- Mediating the labor disputes within the enterprise: