We get a lot of inquiries about the lockdowns in China asking if companies are providing additional support to their expats. We reached out to a group of large companies and found, in general, nothing extraordinary is being offered so far.
While companies continue to pay the regular hardship premium, all companies we canvassed said they have not added any additional temporary premiums to address the current lockdowns. Although, one is considering adding a temporary premium.
It is not entirely surprising that companies have been reluctant to add COVID-19 related temporary premiums in China. The pandemic affects all countries, and most companies expressed the view that no additional hardship measures for COVID-19 would be needed in any location. However, the uptick in China inquiries suggests a concern that China is experiencing a worse situation at present. It remains to be seen if this is temporary or if it will persist. Living with China’s Zero-COVID strategy is expected to be rocky and AIRINC is monitoring the situation for sustained changes in conditions.
Company Supported Leaves from China
We asked companies if they are supporting their employees and families to leave China. While no one indicated they are formally evacuating employees, some did indicate that they are providing some flexibility. This takes the form of either extended home leave or the ability to temporarily work in another country if the employee has work authorization in another jurisdiction. Many companies indicated that, if an employee does not feel safe, they can always ask to be repatriated and this would be supported.
One organization mentioned that they want to be prepared if evacuation does become necessary and is making sure they have a plan for temporary living options if needed.
As conditions continue to evolve in China, it is important to stay on top of developments. AIRINC will update the hardship recommendation for China in late May. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your AIRINC representative if you have any questions or need assistance.