Turning up the Heat: Understanding China’s Regional High Temperature Allowance
As summer approaches, a notice detailing temperature standards in Shanghai workplaces and the proper payment of the high temperature allowance has been released. Effective from June 1, 2016, the notice stipulates that between the months of June and September, Shanghai companies with outdoor labor must take effective measures to maintain a workplace temperature of below 33℃. Employers who fail to keep suitable temperatures are legally obliged to pay a monthly high temperature allowance of RMB 200 to employees, which must be included in the sum of the total salary. In addition, while paying the allowance, companies are still required to provide employees with cool beverages.
28 regions of China have implemented measures for the summer high temperature allowance, with only the more temperate provinces of Heilongjiang, Tibet and Qinghai not providing the allowance. Each region’s stipulations are different, with some calculating allowances per day and some per month. However, many laborers complain that they do not receive the allowance, despite the hot weather, which last summer reached temperatures as hot as 40C in some areas. Many companies are too concerned about costs, making them reluctant to pay out allowances, and in some cases exploit loopholes in order to avoid paying.
Employees have the right to file a complaint if an employer fails to pay, but rarely do in fear of repercussions. In many cases, employees aren’t even aware of the allowance.
The following table details the most up to date standards of allowances and relevant summer months for each participating region. Standards are set for a general benchmark of 33℃ indoors and 35℃ outdoors, unless otherwise stated.
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