Companies in Shandong and Hubei provinces that want to fire 40 or more employees have been told that they must secure approval from local human resources and social security authorities, state media reported. The order is an amendment by provincial governments to China’s labor contract law, which was enacted at the start of the year and requires companies laying off 20 or more workers to obtain approval from their labor unions and report the plan to labor authorities. The number of unemployed in Shandong, a major export region, rose by 680,000 in the first nine months of the year. Liu Junsheng, of the labor-wage institute of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said the measures "can help protect social stability, which is now more important than economic development."
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