Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to learning the laws and rights in a new country. Here, we lay out some of the crucial rules that one should know (and not break), the rights that you have as a foreign person residing in Beijing, and other important information that you will need to navigate this city safely and avoiding any unnecessary trouble.
Laws Foreigners Might Break
Foreigners must register their presence with the local police regardless of the length of stay in the country. Most hotels will automatically register their guests, while other places might require you to register at a place near where you are staying. If you are moving to a new neighborhood, or just moved in from outside of China, you must register at your local Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of your arrival. Each time you exit and enter the country on a valid visa, you must register within 24 hours at the police station.
Staying in China on an expired visa can lead to deportation or being held indefinitely in a foreigners’ detention center while your deportation is being arranged. If your visa is about to expire you can apply for an extension at the PSB Exit and Entry Administration Office
Working on the Wrong Visa
Working on any visa other than the Z visa is illegal.
Know Your Rights
Maternity and Paternity Leave
Expectant foreign mothers and fathers are permitted a certain number of months of maternity/paternity leave. In 2016, maternity leave increased from 98 days to 128 days. At least 15 days of maternity leave is permitted for pregnancies less than 4 months that were aborted. At least six weeks of maternity leave is permitted for pregnancies that lasted over four months that were aborted or resulted in miscarriage. Mothers on maternity leave will also either receive a maternity leave stipend or their usual salary. Fathers are permitted up to 15 days of paternity leave.
Unfortunately, the seven-day marriage leave that was once afforded to new couples was taken down in 2016. New couples are no longer permitted this seven-day leave, and companies that still award this do so out of tradition.
Beginning at 12-weeks, pregnant workers are entitled to paid leave for these checkups. The checkups will also be noted in a pregnancy handbook given by the local Community Health Service Center. As with maternity leave, these policies can differ across China so be sure to look at the policy specific to your location.
Female employees are permitted one hour of breastfeeding time during every working day for a one-year breastfeeding period. It is also common practice for employers to ask women to work the usual eight-hour workday and accumulate the one hour towards their vacation time. Women are also permitted to breastfeed in public without covering up.
Terminating Contracts of Pregnant Workers
It is illegal to terminate the contract of a pregnant worker during her pregnancy, maternity leave, or breastfeeding period (lasts until the infant is one years old). If a worker becomes pregnant during her contract and that contract ends during her pregnancy, the contract will be automatically extended until the end of the breastfeeding period.
Withdrawing Social Security Upon Leaving
All foreign workers are required to contribute to social security in China. If you contributed to a pension/social security fund in China for 15 years or more, you qualify for social security benefits. Foreigners that leave China before this 15-year period has been reached are entitled to recoup the money they had contributed to social security during their employment time. In order to begin the process of withdrawing money, you must first be officially terminated from your place of employment in China. Following the termination, you should speak with your company about the appropriate procedures.
A landlord that wishes to prematurely terminate the lease agreement must pay double the down-payment (usually one month’s rent) and double the security deposit (usually two to three month’s rent). This is roughly eight-months of rent. Tenants that prematurely terminate the lease agreement forfeit both the down-payment and the security deposit.
Photo: Adobe Stock Photo
This article appeared on p59-60 of beijingkids July 2018 Home & Relocation Guide issue