Criminal Law Amendments Proposed To Punish Failure to Pay Wage Arrears

March 15, 2005

Some National People's Congress members have proposed to criminalize an employer's withholding of wages owed to workers, reports the Beijing News. Writer Fang Chaogui explains that, under the Penal Code, unauthorized employer withholding of wages would be considered stealing private property. Fang believes that company managers who withhold wages would take the matter more seriously if they faced up to five years in prison for such offenses. Professor He Bing of the University of Law and Politics suggests, on the other hand, that criminal sanctions would be difficult to enforce, and proposes instead that companies that withhold wages be barred from receiving bank loans until they repay wage arrears. NPC representatives criticized Professor's He's method, saying that, compared to criminal penalties, it would not be strong enough an incentive to resolve a problem now involving millions of dollars.