An introduction to China's work-related injury compensation system

07 September 2012

With an estimated more than one million work-related injuries and nearly 80,000 work-related deaths in China each year, there is an obvious need not only to improve safety but to ensure that those workers who are injured are properly compensated. 

The basic procedures for determining how much compensation an employee should get and who should pay that compensation are quite straightforward on paper. And in cases where the medical facts are not in dispute, the employment relationship is clear and all social insurance contributions have been made, the payment of benefits can be reasonably efficient and equitable. However, restrictive and arbitrary legal requirements, objections from employers and local government intransigence can all delay proceedings indefinitely or even derail the process entirely.

Following on from our study of the social security system, China Labour Bulletin today publishes an updated introduction to the work-related injury compensation system in China that takes a step-by-step look at the process and identifies the key issues and problems associated with each stage.

The four basic stages in the compensation process are: 1. Diagnosis by an official health authority; 2. Verification by the local labour and social security authorities that the diagnosed injury/illness is actually work-related; 3. Assessment of the worker's degree of disability as a result of the injury/illness; and 4. Calculation by the social security authorities of the benefits to be paid.

The study explains what is and what is not considered to be a work-related injury, how different levels of disability are assessed, and the process by which medical, rehabilitation and disability payments are calculated, the severance payments due to injured workers who can continue working but chose to leave their jobs, the payments to be made to the families of workers killed in an accident and the benefits to be paid to injured workers who were employed illegally, such as child workers or those employed in an unlicensed or unregistered business.

This introduction to China's work-related injury compensation system is the latest addition to CLB's Resource Centre, a section of the website designed to provide those relatively new to China with an overview of the key labour issues facing the country today. Other topics include China's social security and labour dispute resolution systems, migrant workers, wages and the reform of state-owned enterprises.

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