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Many workers face extended probation period

By Chen Xin (China Daily)

09:11, August 21, 2012

New employees illegally kept on tender hooks by companies

Liu Yaling has a job opportunity that requires a six-month probation during which she will earn 1,500 yuan ($235) a month.

After the probation, the employer, a textile trade company in Chongqing, will pay her 2,500 yuan a month.

"I’m not sure if I will sign the two-year contract because I think the probation period is too long," she said.

"But I desperately need a job because I just quit my last one and I need money now," said the 23-year-old, who graduated from a university in Chongqing in June.

Liu is not the only job seeker who faces a prolonged probation period with low pay.

According to a recent survey by, a human resources service provider in China, 28 percent of respondents said their most recent probations were illegally extended. More than half of those were employed by private businesses, it said.

The website polled about 1,600 people, nearly 60 percent of whom have less than eight years of work experience.

The survey found that among university graduates, nearly 44 percent had their probations prolonged illegally.

Some graduates signed a one-year contract but were asked to serve a probation of six months or even longer, it said.

The country’s Labor Contract Law stipulates that a contract with a term of three months to one year should not ask for probation longer than a month; a one-to-three-year contract should not require a probation longer than two months; and a contract with a term longer than three years should not ask for a probation period of longer than six months.

The law also stipulates that workers' wages during probation cannot be less than the lowest wage earned by those in the same positions in the company, or that the wage cannot be less than 80 percent of the worker’s post-probation wage in the contract.

But the survey showed that about 29 percent of the workers were underpaid during probation, and 2.3 percent did not get paid at all.

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