Image from China Daily.
As stipulated by the Shanghai government, employers must now pay their sweaty, toiling laborers a monthly subsidy of 200RMB when requiring them to work outside in temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius, or inside in temperatures over 33 degrees. It’s all part of a big push to protect workers from the heat and reduce incidences of heatstroke. Sounds like a good policy. Only problem is, the workers will probably never know about it.
The new regulations follow a nation-wide announcement from government work safety regulators. From China Daily:
The country’s top work safety watchdog and China’s health and labor ministries have jointly called for efforts to be stepped up to protect laborers on excessively hot days and ensure they are not forced to work in conditions that might expose them to heatstroke or accidents.
“Complete and detailed measures should be laid out by governments at all levels according to local related laws and regulations,” said an announcement made by the government departments.
Employers should provide necessary ventilation and cooling-off facilities at work when the mercury soars and offer workers drinks and medicine to prevent heatstroke, the announcement noted.
But the regulations are simply suggestions so far, and still carry no real legal weight. So if employees want to seek compensation for high temperature labor, they can go through their human resources department but the final decision could still be left up to the good graces of their employer.
And anyways, most laborers have never even heard of the regulations, and wouldn’t know who to complain to if they did. Many workers are unaware of the actual company they even work for, and instead work for subcontractors:
Yu Jiaxiu, a cleaner who has been working in plus-37 C temperatures for the past three days, said she had not heard that she might be entitled to financial subsidies because of the excessive heat.
She said that it would be hard to claim any subsidies for the hot weather because she does not even know the name of the company she works for, she only knows the name of the local contractor who employed her and who did not give her a contract of employment.
These heat regulations have actually been around for a few years now, and are still failing to do any good. So while the city and national governments can announce a whopping dollar a day raise for people risking health and heatstroke, realistically nothing has probably changed.