Release Letter under Chinese laws (1)

Release Letter under Chinese laws
Release Letter under Chinese laws

When could I get my Release Letter ?

Actually, a year before, I never thought it would be a problem for foreign employees. However, during the pandemic and after the closure of borders, the difficulties of getting Release Letter becomes quite a typical legal issue.

The boss cannot find someone to replace the position as easily as before.

So all kinds of excuses goes,  

“You can’t resign if the contract has not expired.”

“You have no right to go as we have paid you during the epidemic.”

“You has no right to claim Release Letter if you resign.”


And even some unscrupulous boss cheated my client to sign a new contract with a longer term by telling them the new contract is just for the purpose of visa extension.

Without the Release Letter, you may be reported illegal working. As the consequence of illegal working, you may read my pervious article. See What Happens if I was Caught Working Illegally in China?

Then in what situation you are entitled to a Release Letter?

1. When your contract is terminated by mutual agreement

Note: This cause is applied to every kind of employment contract, including employment contracts with a fixed term, open-ended or project based terms. Generally speaking, you’d better claim a Termination Agreement in written form when you and your boss agree to terminate your employment contract. 

2. When your contract is terminated by under statutory causes provided in Article 44 of Labor Contract Law, including

(1) The  term of an employment contract has expired;

(2) The employee has begun to enjoy the basic benefit of his /her pension; (rarely happen)

(3) The employee is deceased, or is declared dead or missing by the people’s court;  (rarely happen)

(4)  The employer is declare bankrupt; (rarely happen)

(5) The employer’s business license is revoked or the employer  ordered to close down its business or to dissolve its business entity, or the employer makes a decision to liquidate its business ahead of the schedule. (bad luck) 

3. When your contract expires, and you do not like to renew it.

Under Article 50 of China’s Labor Contract Law, at the time of dissolution or termination of a labor contract, the employer shall issue a document to prove dissolution or termination of the labor contract.

That is to say, you may claim your release letter at the same time when both parties agree to terminate the contract or in the second day after your employment contract expires.

4. After you resign from your position

Whatever reason you provide, you have the right to resign. You even don’t have to tell the reason or make an excuse for your boss.

But when you resign, please pay attention to the procedures. (see How to Resign EFFECTIVELY under Chinese Laws?  )

As long as you make the procedure flawless, you can claim your Release Letter in 30 days after you resign. 

Maybe you will raise a further question, if they just refuse to issue, how will I do?

OK, we are going to discuss it in the next article. 

If you have more questions about china labor/employment contract law, welcome to contact me.

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