Methods of Realizing Equal Pay for Equal Work for Temporary Employees in China

Article excerpt


In recent years, the employment service industry has developed rapidly. As a result, about sixty millions of labors dispatching workers were working at employing units in China in 2011 (1). If considering the labors trusting theirs organizational affiliation to mobile staff service agencies (called as labor relation consigners) and the ones employed by labor contractors, labor subcontractors and other organs supplying implicit job referral (named as labor workers), the quantity of temporary employees would break one hundred million. Along with its development, unequal pay for such temporary workers has become increasingly prominent. According to CTG China (Employment Services Industry) Employment Index Report, the employing cost of temporary workers is equivalent to the formal labor cost 60%-70%. The fact of temporary workers' suffering from poor treatment in the aspect of labor remuneration even impedes the release of Wage Regulations (2).

In China, labor remuneration can be divided into two types based on the status of temporary workers. One is regarded as wage. Employment-type of dispatching workers or labor relation consigners get wages though concluding labor contract with labor dispatch agencies or with employing units respectively. The other is classified as labor remuneration. Labor workers are commonly employed and paid so-called labor remuneration in accordance with employment contracts (3) or with oral commitments. Standing on observations on Chinese society, most of temporary workers, except registration type of dispatching workers (4), are confronted with remuneration discrimination.

In China, there are two points of views on unequal payment for temporary workers. One view is that different remuneration problem is difficult to be solved because of the attraction to employing units derived from low labor cost and the dual-track employment system (5) (Su, 2008). The other view is that labor workers should have the right of equal pay by law. Hence, solutions to the problem must be found. The main efforts are as follows: (1) to attempt to solve the problem through adjustment of legislation. For example, trying to determine standards of "equal work" and "equal pay" more explicitly; increasing employers' burden of proof by adopting of "shifting of burden of evidence"; designing of far more severe punishment procedure aiming at unequal pay for temporary workers and etc. (Shen, 2008). (2) to explore new ways from employing units' human resource management. "equal pay for equal post", "equal pay for equal output" or "same wage distribution mechanism for same post" is proposed. (3) to attempt to avoid unequal pay. Suggestions include that allocating temporary workers only in the same type of posts; attempting to reduce the wage level of staff working at monopolistic organizations to a rational scope; only using temporary workers in the adjuvant or replaced posts and etc..

The previous observations and researches indicate the complexity and significance of equal pay problem for temporary workers. This paper will probe into this problem again from the perspectives of labor transaction game.


In contrast with the process of reaching wage contract with so-called regular workers in micro-organization, formation of temporary workers' remuneration includes two steps, one is labor pricing and the other is internal human capital pricing by employment service agency with the former becoming constraint on the latter. In China, most of temporary workers can be regarded as homogeneous ones because they mainly provide ordinary labor, and this is convenient for us to build model. Since labor price formation for temporary workers is either through bargaining or through tendering and bidding, the following discussion will be made along two approaches.

1.1 Remuneration Comparison Based on Bargaining Mechanism

Assume labor transaction occurs between some employing unit and some employment service agency. …