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PRC Labour Law - Bitesize: If an employee breaches the employer's safety policies and is injured as a result, will his/her injury be treated as a work-related injury?

25 June 2010
Mayer Brown JSM Newsletter

If an employee breaches the employer's safety policies and is injured as a result, will his/her injury be treated as a work-related injury?

Yes, in this situation, the injury will still be classified as a work-related injury, as long as it falls within any circumstances referred to in our Bitesize article dated June 17. PRC law provides the following exceptions to the identification of a work-related injury; if the employee's injury or death arises from his/her:

  • committing a crime or breach of any public security management rules;
  • being drunk;
  • committing suicide or self-mutilation.

Can an employer take disciplinary action against an employee for breach of the safety policies which leads to his/her injury?

Yes. However, the employer is unlikely to be able to dismiss the employee as a disciplinary matter for his/her breach resulting in his/her injury.

Can an employer dismiss an employee who has suffered a work-related injury?

The employer's right to dismiss an employee in these circumstances depends on the seriousness of the employee's injury.

If the employee's injury is certified to be work-related by the Local Labour Bureau, once the condition of the employee's injury is stable, the employer must apply to the Labour Bureau to obtain a certification as to whether the employee is disabled, and if so, the degree of his/her disability.

There are ten degrees of disability in respect of the employee's disability certification above. The employer's right to terminate the employee's employment is restricted depending upon the certified degree of disability of the employee. Please refer to the table below for details.

Degree of Disability
Termination Restrictions
Degree 1
The law is silent on whether an employee, who has been certified to be disabled at Degree 1 to Degree 4, can be dismissed. In practice, the employment between the parties is unlikely to be terminated until the employee reaches his/her retirement age.
Degree 2
Degree 3
Degree 4
Degree 5
Generally, the employment between the parties can be terminated if the employee resigns, or reaches his/her retirement age. While the law is unclear on this issue, such employee may also be dismissed for his/her later serious breach of company policies. Other than the above, the employer is unlikely to be able to dismiss the employee.
Degree 6
Degree 7
Generally, the employment between the parties can be terminated upon the expiry date of the existing labour contract, or the employee's resignation or his/her reaching retirement age. While the law is unclear on this issue, the employee may also be dismissed for a subsequent serious breach of company policies by him/her. Other than the above, the employer is unlikely to be able to dismiss the employee.
Degree 8
Degree 9
Degree 10

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