China tackles labor problems with new laws

Nov. 16, 2004 at 4:37 AM
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BEIJING, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- China is imposing new labor laws to force employers to pay their workers' wages, after widespread failure to do so has sparked unrest across the country.

The laws state that any employer who fails to pay workers by the deadline set by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security must pay an additional 50 to 100 percent of the amount owed, South China Morning Post reported Tuesday. The law takes effect Dec. 1.

The legislation was at least in part sparked by the growing complaints of unpaid migrant workers throughout the country. China's Federation of Trade Unions estimates 100 million migrant workers are owed $12 billion in back pay.

Employers will also face penalties if they fail to sign contracts, provide health checks and contribute to a social security fund.

Local labor officials must make regular, unscheduled visits to companies to check on compliance with the law.

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