Reed Smith Client Alerts

As the number of COVID-19 infections in China has declined and now stabilized, the Chinese government is increasingly shifting its focus to the resumption of production and the economic recovery. To that end, the State Council and local governments have issued a series of guidelines to help the various industries resume business operations while also abiding by new workplace health and safety rules and travel guidance, as the prevention and control of the COVID-19 remains a top priority. Many of these new directives may become long-standing or even permanent requirements as the pandemic has changed the way people live and work in a fundamental way. This client alert aims to compile the COVID-19 related guidelines issued by the state and local governments for employers’ reference.

Authors: Dora Wang Katherine Yang Cindy Shen

Employers’ general obligations under state laws and government guidance

Employers are obligated to disclose employees’ health status to government disease control agencies. Specifically, Chinese companies must report promptly to the local disease control authorities or medical institutions if a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case is identified.1 The company must not conceal, delay the mandatory reporting of, or lie about any COVID-19 related cases.2

On February 8, 2020, the State Council issued the “Notice on Effectively Strengthening Scientific Prevention and Control of Epidemics and Orderly Resumption of Work and Production in Enterprises,” requiring companies to implement disease control and prevention measures based on the nature and characteristics of their business operations before they resume business.3

Subsequently on February 21, 2020, the State Council issued “Guidance on Prevention and Control Measures for the Resumption of Work and Production in Enterprises and Institutions,” providing more detailed requirements for employers. These requirements include, among others, that employers strengthen employee health monitoring, improve workplace health and safety, and provide guidance and training on personal protection to employees. In addition, if an employee shows any symptoms of COVID-19, such as a dry cough or fever, the employer must report the suspected case to the local disease control authorities promptly and implement appropriate preventive and containment measures.4