Bet­ter en­force­ment of the law can en­sure work­ers get paid

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

in South­west China’s Yun­nan prov­ince, which was hit by a 6.5-mag­ni­tude earth­quake in Au­gust 2014 that killed 615 peo­ple, Premier Li Ke­qiang, while talk­ing with lo­cal res­i­dents, learned that one lo­cal la­borer was owed 50,000 yuan ($7,274) by his com­pany. Li was “an­gry” and crit­i­cized the com­pany. Bei­jingNews com­ments:

The prob­lem of the non-pay­ment of wages re­mains a prob­lem and this case needs the at­ten­tion of the premier for a so­lu­tion. That shows how se­ri­ous the prob­lem is.

There are two pos­si­ble rea­sons why work­ers fail to re­ceive their wages. Ei­ther the em­ployer has money but does not want to pay, or the em­ployer does not have the money to pay its work­ers.

The lawis clear on the first. Ac­cord­ing to the La­bor Con­tract Law, those fail­ing to pay their em­ploy­ees on time face up to seven years in prison.

Yet rarely do we hear of any em­ploy­ers be­ing found guilty and pun­ished for in­ten­tion­ally de­lay­ing work­ers’ wages. It is time to bet­ter en­force the lawto pre­vent

such things from hap­pen­ing again.

The sec­ond rea­son may also be be­cause of il­le­gal be­hav­ior. Take the con­struc­tion in­dus­try, for ex­am­ple, which em­ploys the ma­jor­ity of la­bor­ers. The law­for­bids it, but the con­struc­tion com­pa­nies still di­vide their con­tracts and out­source them to var­i­ous smaller sub­con­trac­tors. The chain of pay­ments can eas­ily break with the la­bor­ers be­com­ing the ul­ti­mate vic­tims. Had the law­been ob­served, that could have been pre­vented.

“A whole fam­ily suf­fers when a worker fails to get his or her de­served wages. Those de­lay­ing wages have bro­ken both mar­ket rules and moral stan­dards,” said Li. The lawen­force­ment de­part­ments need to do their jobs bet­ter to en­sure work­ers are paid on time.

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