A Guide to Minimum Wages in China in 2022

A Guide to Minimum Wages in China in 2022

Starting in 2022, Shenzhen and Henan raised their minimum wage standards from January 1, while Chongqing, Hunan, and Fujian will raise their minimum wage standards from April 1. Meanwhile, Hebei province has announced that it plans to adjust its minimum wage standards in 2022 after completing an ongoing process of evaluation and calculation.


Since 2021, more than 20 provinces in China have raised their minimum wage standard, including Anhui, Beijing, Guangdong, Hainan, Heilongjiang, Hubei, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanghai, Shanxi, Sichuan, Tianjin, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Zhejiang. Currently, Shanghai has the highest monthly minimum wage among 31 provinces (RMB 2,590/US$400 per month) and Beijing has the highest hourly minimum wage (RMB 25.3/US$3.9 per hour). Eight regions – Shanghai, Guangdong, Beijing, Tianjin, Jiangsu, Shandong, Hubei, and Zhejiang – have surpassed the RMB 2,000 (US$308) mark in their monthly minimum wage standards.

At the lower end of the wage spectrum, Yunnan’s minimum wage level (RMB 1,350/US$213 per month) is slightly higher than that in Anhui (RMB 1,340/US$212 per month).

What is the minimum wage in China?

According to China’s Provisions on Minimum Wage, the legal minimum wage refers to the minimum labor remunerations that shall be paid by the employers to the employees under the precondition that the employee has provided normal labor within the promissory working hours or within the working hours that is prescribed in the labor contracts.

The minimum wage standards are determined by provincial governments by taking into consideration factors, such as the minimum living costs of local employees and their dependents, the urban residents’ consumption price index, the social insurance premiums and the housing funds paid by the employees themselves, the average salary of the employees, the level of local economic development, the local employment status, etc.


Minimum wage levels in China by region (based on highest monthly rate in each region) effective January 2020.

In general, the minimum wage standards appear in two forms, namely the monthly minimum wage standard and the hourly minimum wage standard. The monthly minimum wage standard applies to full-time employees while the hourly minimum wage standard applies to non-fulltime employees, such as part-time and temporary employees.

To be noted, the minimum wage is just the basic wage that employers must pay their employees, which excludes overtime pay, night shift allowance, summer high temperature allowance, the special working environment allowance, and subsidies for meals, transportation, and housing.

Local governments in China are generally required to update their minimum wages every few years but have the flexibility to adjust wages according to local conditions.

Most provinces set different classes of minimum wage levels for different areas depending on the given region’s level of development and cost of living. For example, a higher minimum wage class is established for the provincial capital and the most developed cities in the province, whereas smaller cities and rural areas fall under a lower wage class.

To view the detailed classification of minimum wages based on your Province, City and working time of the employees, check out the link below https://www.china-briefing.com/news/minimum-wages-china-2022/

What is affected by the minimum wage increase?

Housing fund

The minimum contribution base of the housing fund in many cities is the same as the local minimum wage standards. The change of the minimum wage means the adjustment of the housing fund contribution base in the following months. The ceiling of the housing fund contribution base is usually three times the local average monthly salary of employees in the previous year and the floor of the housing fund contribution base is usually the same as the local minimum wage standard.


Models of apartments at a real estate exhibition in Shenyang

Wages during the probation period

Article 20 of the Labor Contract Law stipulates that the wage amount of a worker during their probation period shall not be less than the lowest wage amount for the same job position in the employer’s organization or 80 percent of the wage amount agreed in the labor contract and shall not be less than the minimum wage standard of the locality of the employer.

Therefore, the wages paid by the enterprise to the probationary employees who are on regular attendance should not be lower than the corresponding standard amount.

Wages during sick leave

Different cities have different standards regarding sick leave payments. But one universal rule is that the sick leave wage shall not be lower than 80 percent of the local minimum wage, according to the Opinions on Several Issues concerning the Implementation of the Labor Law of the People’s Republic of China (Lao Bu Fa [1995] No. 309).

Correspondingly, the minimum sick leave wage standard shall be adjusted with the increase of the local minimum wage standard.


How the Chinese Labor law regulates sick leave

Severance payment

Article 27 of the Implementation Regulations for the Labor Contract Law of the People’s Republic of China stipulates that the monthly salary used for calculating the severance payment to an employee shall be no less than the local minimum wage standard. If the average pay of the employee in the 12 months before the termination of the labor contract is less than the local minimum wage standard, the local minimum wage standard shall be used to calculate the severance payment.

Wages during the suspension of work or production

Companies may decide to suspend their businesses or production in the wake of internal or external difficulties, such as during lockdowns caused by the pandemic. According to relevant provisions on wage payment during the period of suspension of production:

  • If the suspension period is within one wage payment cycle, salaries shall be paid according to the standards stipulated in the labor contract; and
  • If the suspension period goes beyond one wage payment cycle, the living allowance shall be paid by the enterprise, and the living allowance shall be implemented in accordance with the relevant local regulations.

Referring to the regulations of Zhejiang Province, Hubei Province, and Shaanxi Province, the employer is required pay living allowance at 70~80 percent of the local minimum wage.


Wages of dispatched employees

According to Article 58 of the Labor Contract Law, during the period in which a dispatched worker is not assigned any work duties, the labor dispatch agency shall pay the worker remuneration on a monthly basis pursuant to the local minimum wage standard.

Wages of injured workers

Article 35 and Article 36 of the Regulations on Work-Related Injury Insurance stipulates that where a worker who sustained a work injury is certified grade 1 to grade 6 disability, he/she shall enjoy corresponding benefits, such as a one-off disability subsidy and monthly disability allowance covered by the work-related injury insurance fund in accordance with the disability grading, among other factors.

Regarding the monthly disability allowance, the injured workers shall be paid at 60-90 percent of their average monthly wage in the 12 months before the injury. Where the amount of disability allowance calculated is less than the local minimum wage standard, the shortfall shall be covered by the work-related injury insurance fund.

Source: China Briefing

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