Labor Law as Social Inclusion: A Proposal for Re-conceptualization of Employment

The International Department at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights welcomes you to a seminar with Associate Professor Yifeng Chen from Peking University Law School on his research titled “Labor Law as Social Inclusion: A Proposal for Re-conceptualization of Employment Relationship in Chinese Law”.  

Associate Professor Yifeng Chen. Photo: Peking University Law School


  • 12:00 - 12:05 Welcome by Yi Wang, Head of Human Rights Education, International Department at the Norwegian Center for Human Rights
  • 12:05 - 12:35 Presentation by Yifeng Chen, Associate Professor at Peking University Law School
  • 12:35 – 13:00 Comments by Wei Chen, Special Adviser, Economic and Social Affairs Dep. International Department, the Norwegian Confederation on Trade Unions (LO)
  • 13:00 – 13:30 Q&A

A summary of the research:

The research offers a critical examination of the definition of employment relationship and the notion of a “worker” under Chinese law. The right to work is clearly provided for in the International Covenant of Economic, Cultural and Social Rights. Yet under domestic labour laws, the legal recognition of workers, who are thus under the protection of labour law and entitled to various social protection systems, covers only those who are under formal employment relationship. As a result of the narrowly constructed concept of employment relationship under Chinese law, a considerably large amount of people, who are working in informal economy, flexibly employed or self-employed, find it difficult to integrate into the existing labour law regime. The research suggests that the legal definition of employment relationship should be critically reconstructed and conceptualized from the perspective of social inclusion. An overly formalistic approach is too parochial and exclusive.

The research project proposes a reconstruction of employment relationship by highlighting the role of labour law as an essential institution for social inclusion and redistribution. The labour law was originally designed to contractualize the employment in 1980s. This was reoriented in early 2000s towards more stringent labour protection. It is a time to reconceive the role of labour law as an institution for social inclusion. A more receptive and inclusive approach towards employment recognition is essential for the transformation of Chinese labour law.

A light lunch will be served. Please register:

Published Aug. 16, 2017 10:27 AM - Last modified Aug. 16, 2017 3:22 PM