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PRC Labour Law - Bitesize: Can I unilaterally change the work duties to be carried out by an employee?

19 March 2010
Mayer Brown JSM Newsletter

Can I unilaterally change the work duties to be carried out by an employee?

An employer cannot do this without the employee’s agreement unless under one of the following circumstances:

  • the employee is incapable of performing his or her current duties; or
  • on the expiry of a medical treatment period for an illness or non-work related injury, the employee is incapable of performing his or her original duties.

Even if the labour contract contains an express provision permitting unilateral variation of duties this clause cannot be relied upon in all instances.

How can I change the salary of an employee?

Any salary adjustment would amount to a change of the labour contract and therefore would require the employee’s agreement. In practice, of course, no employee will complain about an increase in salary!

However, if the employer wants to reduce its employees’ salary, then it should either:

  • obtain the relevant employees’ agreement (if such reduction applies to individual employees); or
  • go through the "democratic process" as required under Article 4 of the Labour Contract Law (if such reduction applies to all employees or employees in the same department).

If you are interested in receiving our "PRC Labour Law - Bitesize" articles, or if you have any questions on PRC employment law, please email to to register.

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