Defaulting on workers' pay must stop

Updated: 2013-01-26 07:36

By Zhu Yuan (China Daily)

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A dozen central government departments, including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the National Commission for Development and Reform, early this month decided that cases in which more than 10 workers have been denied wages demand immediate investigation, and leaders of an arbitration committee must deal with cases if the arrears of workers are more than 1,000 yuan each.

On Jan 23, the Supreme People's Court issued a detailed interpretation of the criminal stipulation and clarified that the act of employers refusing to pay their employees can carry a criminal charge. If non-payment of wages threatens the life of a migrant worker by, say, delaying his/her treatment for a serious illness, then the employer can be sentenced to imprisonment for up to seven years.

The interpretation has made it easy for such acts to be declared a criminal offense. But to solve the problem once and for all, the government has to implement strict rules to prevent construction projects from being sub-contracted without limit. And local governments should be responsible for the construction projects they launch and ensure that they have sufficient funds.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily. E-mail:

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