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Dismissal rules in China: selection order in collective redundancies

Written by
Fangda Partners, the preeminent China-based international law firm.
This article provides a guide to which employees are protected from dismissal or given preference in China.

Chinese law does not set a specific selection order for dismissals. However, for termination as a result of an employee’s incompetence, sickness, major changes in the employment contract or collective dismissals, the following employees are protected from termination:

  • those exposed to occupational disease who have not had pre-departure health check-ups, or are suspected of having contracted occupational diseases and are being diagnosed or are under medical observation;
  • those who have lost or partially lost their capacity to work as the result of an occupational disease contracted or a work-related injury sustained while working for the employer;
  • those who have contracted an illness or sustained a non-work-related injury, provided the applicable statutory period of medical care has not expired;
  • female employees who are pregnant, in confinement or nursing; and
  • those who have worked for the employer continuously for not less than 15 years and are less than five years from the legal retirement age.


For collective dismissals, the employer must also give preference to retaining the following employees:

  • those with comparatively longer fixed-term contracts;
  • those with indefinite term contracts; and
  • those who are the sole wage earners and are supporting an elderly person or a minor.


Also, for collective dismissals, if the employer wishes to rehire any new employee within six months after the dismissal, it must notify these former dismissed employees and offer them employment on a preferential basis under the same conditions.

Zheng Xie
Partner - China
Fangda Partners