You are here: Home Law Topics Employment Law A New Trend of China Employment Law: Employer Bears Burden to Prove Employees Took Unapproved Leaves of Absences

China Lawyer Blog - We answer your questions

A New Trend of China Employment Law: Employer Bears Burden to Prove Employees Took Unapproved Leaves of Absences

In several recent cases where employees were terminated for unexcused absence from work, the courts and employment dispute arbitration tribunals held that the employer must bear the burden of proving that such leaves of absence were not approved by management.

In March 2010, an employment dispute arbitration tribunal in Liaoning Province ordered reinstatement of an employee who had been summarily terminated for taking leave without approval by the company. The employee had requested sick leave through text messages and phone calls to the manager, who did not respond explicitly with an approval or a disapproval.

The tribunal found that the non-response from the manager did not suggest non-approval of the leave request, and therefore the termination was not justified. Similarly, in March 2010, the Putuo District People's Court in Shanghai reversed the company's decision to terminate a foreign employee for 10 days' absence from work, as the company failed to show its disapproval of the employee's leave request submitted in an e-mail.

An employment dispute arbitration tribunal in Xining (a city in Qinghai Province) issued an order to reinstate an employee terminated for taking unapproved leave on the grounds that the regulations cited by the employer in the termination notice had already been repealed. Companies should note that under the Employment Contract Law, there is no general ground for termination for misconduct, and that companies may only terminate employees if they seriously violate the company's rules and regulations.

Given the above rulings, an employer should clearly define its leave procedures in the employee handbook (which should be validly adopted through employee consultation) and properly document its approvals as well as rejections of employees' leave applications.

  • Goal

  • Fees

The law blog is running by a China lawyer working for a full-service law firm, offering practical, results-driven advice on employment law, divorce, company law, and other legal issues. Our goal is to manage these issues effectively so that our clients can focus on what they could do best.

China Lawyer Blog will charge you under your specific circumstances in the following styles:
(1) Hourly fee arrangements
(2) Contingency fee arrangements
(3) Flat fee arrangements
(4) Percentage fee arrangements

Learn More...


China Lawyer Blog China Lawyer Society

China Lawyer

I am a licensed China lawyer. Most clients are foreign nationals and companies. China Lawyer Blog have associates in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Fuzhou, Hainan, Hefei, Wuhan, Xian, Changsha, Xiamen and Hangzhou. Learn More

Latest Comments


China law society award

Style of Service

This China Lawyer Blog is aiming at providing better knowledge and understanding of Chinese law for foreigners. Should you have any legal issue in China, do not hesitate to contact China Lawyer Blog for consultation. Preliminary consultation is free. Further legal service, however, will be charged in due rate and in due course.

You are welcomed to ask for a quotation pursuant to your specific circumstance.

About author

China Lawyer BLog AuthorPeter Zhu, an experienced China attorney licensed to practice law for more than ten years, the author of this China Lawyer blog, welcomes any enquiry or consultation related to Chinese law.