On 25 August 2020, the Jiangsu Province High Court, the Jiangsu Province Labor Bureau, and the Jiangsu Province Bureau of Justice jointly issued a guiding opinion on employment disputes relating to COVID-19. The opinion touches on the following key employment law issues.
First, during the period when an employee is in isolation and cannot perform regular work after being diagnosed with COVID-19, is suspected of having contracted COVID-19, or has been in close contact with a known or suspected COVID-19 carrier, the company should pay the employee's regular full salary during the isolation period. After the isolation period ends, if the employee still needs to be absent from work in order to receive medical treatment, the company should pay the appropriate amount of sick pay during the statutory medical treatment period.
Second, if due to COVID-19, a company arranges its employees to provide services through phone or the internet, the company should either pay the newly agreed salary or continue paying regular salary to the employees if no agreement has been reached in this respect. If an employee works on a rest day and does not take compensatory leave within the six-month period, the company will be obliged to pay the employee overtime payment at a rate of 200% of regular salary. Furthermore, due to COVID-19, a company may temporarily assign its employees to other companies to provide services in accordance with the employment contract or with the mutual consent of the employees.
Third, an employee who cannot work due to government isolation, medical observation or other government emergency measures is protected from termination of their employment and, if the employee's employment contract expires during this period, the employment contract shall be automatically extended until the isolation period ends. However, if an employee conceals his/her illness relating to COVID-19, refuses to accept testing or mandatory isolation, or refuses to return to work without a justifiable reason, the company may summarily dismiss the employee.
KEY TAKEAWAY POINTS
The Jiangsu opinion is generally consistent with the national rules relating to COVID-19 matters, and also provides additional detailed guidance on salary payment, termination of employment, flexible working arrangements, etc.
Companies with operations and employees in Jiangsu should follow the local rules.
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