International cooperation requires adaptation to the circumstances of both countries. Entrepreneurs dealing with Chinese businesspeople should be particularly aware of the irregular calendar of Chinese holidays. Those traveling to China should also be mindful of the dates of public holidays. Also, understanding how the work schedule in China looks like might come in handy. That is why it is worth knowing the days off in China.
Work schedule in China
The statutory working week consists of a maximum of 44 hours, from Monday to Friday, 8 hours a day. Labor law has established that an employee has at least eleven days off in a year due to holidays.
The employee does not necessarily have to follow the eight-hour schedule if the circumstances do not allow him. An employer cannot force an employee to work overtime. However, if the employee is willing to work overtime, it must not exceed three hours a day. Total overtime can be up to 36 hours per month. However, if public interests are at stake, the law can be bent.
By the law, the overtime pay should be at least 1.5 times the agreed wage. The pay for coming to work during public holidays should be at least three times higher than usual.
A typical 8 to 6 job includes a two-hour lunch break and a possible nap between 12 a.m. and 2 p.m. Public institutions are usually open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a break in the middle of the day. Restaurants are open from 10 a.m. until late at night. Some hotels and hospitals operate 24 hours a day.
The work schedule varies from place to place. For example, in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, work starts at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. It is because the sun rises there later than in the rest of China, while the whole country is in a one-time zone.
Extended work schedule
In China, there is also the so-called 996 working hour system. It stands for working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week. In total, 72 hours of work every week. This work schedule has been adopted by at least 40 Chinese companies, mainly in the IT industry. It is also common practice to reimburse taxi fares for employees working late into the night. Jack Ma, co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group, has called “996” a blessing for employees, as it allows them to achieve great success in a short time. Indeed, employees can accumulate wealth in no time, though it often comes with health complications and worsened relationships.
Days off in China – holidays
The following list presents public holidays in China:
- New Year: on January 1
- Chinese New Year (Spring Festival): in January or February, three days off
- Qingming Festival- Tomb-Sweeping Day: usually on April 4, 5 or 6
- Chinese Labor Day (May Day): on May 1
- Dragon Boat Festival: one day in June
- Mid-Autumn Festival: one day in September or October
- National Day of the People’s Republic of China: on October 1, three days off
The only holidays that fall on the same date every year are New Year, Labor Day, and National Day of the People’s Republic of China. The dates of the other public holidays are based on the lunisolar calendar. Holidays are usually combined with weekends, and sometimes even celebrated for a week.
On our site, you can find more about the holidays mentioned above.
Days off in China – school holidays
The dates of school holidays in China vary from city to city, as the Education Commission of respective cities determines them. Winter holidays start around mid-January and last until mid-February. The spring break lasts from the end of March to the beginning of April. Summer holidays last from July to September. Of course, public holidays are applicable. In addition, young people over the age of 14 have a half-day off on May 4 (Youth Day), and children under the age of 13 on Children’s Day (June 1) have all day off.
Entrepreneurs cooperating with partners from China should carefully plan their trips to China. During holidays and dates around holidays, you can find it hard to get in touch with your Chinese business partner. Before traveling to China, we also recommend checking regional holidays in the area where you plan to stay.