Frontline China - China Employment Law Update Oct 2019

National platform for social insurance services went live

After a one-month test run, the National Platform for Social Insurance Service officially went online on 15 September 2019. Individuals can visit: or download "Pocket 12333(掌上12333)" from the App Store to check their social security information or handle related formalities online with no need to queue at a physical location. The platform enables users to:

  • check detailed records of social insurance premium contributions and social insurance treatment, such as specific monthly contribution fees, their accumulated pension and any interest from their accumulated pension;
  • obtain an estimation of their monthly pension after retirement based on current contributions;
  • transfer the social insurance account to different provinces or cities and to check on the transfer process;
  • apply for verification of eligibility for pension treatment; and
  • apply for exemption from social insurance contribution (if they are a non-Chinese national and come from a country/region that has signed a bilateral agreement with the Chinese government to mutually exempt its nationals from the contribution of social insurance in China).

The introduction of this platform is part of the establishment of the social insurance system. Social insurance includes pension, medical, work-related injury, maternity, and unemployment insurance. In accordance with the principle of universal coverage, all residents are expected to enrol in the system. Employers are obliged to contribute social insurance for their employees, and self-employed people may participate on a voluntary basis. On 25 July 2019, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (the "MHRSS") released data to the public, disclosing the current progress of the national social insurance system, which revealed that 947 million persons are now covered by pension insurance, 200 million by unemployment insurance and 245 million by non-work related injury insurance.

Opinion issued to further regulate the human resource market

Last year, the State Council published the Provisional Regulation on Human Resource Market (the "Provisional Regulation") in order to improve employment rates and optimize human resource allocation across the country.

To implement and support the Provisional Regulation, MHRSS has now published a Further Opinion on Managing the Human Resource Market (the "Opinion") which provides 14 specific measures aimed at achieving the further optimization of the employment market, including increased focus on the regulation of online recruitment.

A representative of the MHRSS explained during a recent press conference that the MHRSS has noticed the significant development and influence that online recruitment has brought to the human resource market. The MHRSS will continue encouraging and supporting the development of online recruitment, as well as urging online platforms to adopt both a self-review system to filter illegal recruitment information, such as advertisements for roles involving illegal activities or which are discriminatory and a complaint-system for both individual and corporate users to report false, discriminatory or other illegal recruitment information.

Increasing number of LGBT couples are opting for Legal Guardianship ("意定监护")

Same-sex couples are not able to marry under existing laws in Mainland China, but since March 2017 the amended General Rules of the Civil Law (the "Civil Law") have allowed LGBT couples to establish a legal relationship through a guardianship agreement.

Legal Guardianship ("意定监护") as stated in the Civil Law allows all adults to make their partner the beneficiary of their will and nominate their own legal guardian to act on their behalf where they completely or partially lose their mental capacity. Previously, only those over the age of 60 or with reduced mental capacity could appoint a legal guardian.

An increasing number of same-sex couples are now choosing to sign a guardianship agreement. According to the public news, the Nanjing Notary Office in Jiangsu Province was the first to administer legal guardianship for gay couples towards the end of 2017 and has handled more than 20 cases so far. Notary offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Changsha and Xiangyang followed soon after. More recently, on 5 August 2019, the Beijing-based Guoxin Notary Office issued its notarization of the guardianship agreement between a same-sex couple; this was the first case in Beijing. This ability to formalise their relationship represents a small but significant step forward for LGBT couples in China.

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