To Sue or Not to Sue? 2 Ways to Deal with Your Unpaid Salary in China

Maybe you have been informed by a few articles that you are entitled to your full salary for February. But you’re still confused how to move on, or whether or not to take any legal procedures.

Here are some suggestions for those in dilemma.

Before we discuss the specific steps, consider the following questions with your heart and soul:

Ways to Deal with Your Unpaid Salary in China
Ways to Deal with Your Unpaid Salary in China


If all your answers are yes, you should take legal procedures immediately. You can follow the steps below.

(1) Report to local Labor Supervision Bureau (you may skip this step);

(2) File your case in local Labor Arbitration Tribunal;

(3) Sue in the local court. 


(1) You will definitely get your salary for February since there is specific regulations issued by our government. (Read more in Can I Get Salary during the “Vacation” for Quarantine Measures?)

(2) And then for the salary of March? If you are not assigned any work caused by the poor business. You will get 70-80% of the minimum standard salary in your city.

(3) After your boss gets the information that you’ve filed a case against the company, your boss may choose to terminate the contract with you based on force majeure with one month notice in advance.

(4) All in all, you can get your salary of Feb and 70-80% of the minimum standard salary for one month.

(5) Severance Pay? It depends on where you are since the local courts in different areas have different viewpoints as to the application of Labor Law to foreigners.

(Read more at Can I Claim Severance Pay?)

(6) To claim with all your colleagues? Good idea! But the risk is that group action may enforce your boss to declare bankruptcy and when the winding-up procedure starts, you may become a creditor of a bankrupt company.


And we move back to the previous questions, if your answers are NO. For example, you still like the business culture. You feel sympathy for the difficulties of your company. You still like work in the same city. Thus, there is only one answer:


Try to make a new agreement with your company, including the salary of February and the following months before the epidemic ends. (Note: The new agreement shall be in written form, or at least keep email or WeChat information as proof.)

Advantage: Your boss may appreciate your loyalty in this special period and manage to perform the new agreement. Of course, your salary may get much lower than it was before, but at least much more than the local minimum standard.

Disadvantage: Your boss may break the promise and refuse to pay. If so, you cannot claim the pervious salary as provided in your Employment Contract since there is a new agreement regarding your salary during the epidemic.

All in all, Please balance your specific situation with a clear thought. Neither rush to sue, nor be bullied by your boss.

Here is Jenny, always be with you.

Another article about salary calculation, see All about Your Salary in February and March.

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

Jenny Zhang
Jenny Zhang

Jenny Zhang and her experienced Chinese lawyers team provide personalized legal services for foreign individuals, expats, foreigners, foreign corporate clients and businesses, help clients carry out business better in China, work and live better in China.