Shenzhen has released a draft regulation to force employers to pay salaries on time as part of its efforts to improve a poor labour record and protect workers' rights. The city has been criticised for having the most labour disputes, with private businesses and the owners of joint-venture companies taking advantage of cheap labour flooding in from inland provinces in the absence of effective labour laws and regulations. The draft, which was posted on the Shenzhen government's Web site last month, has attracted comments from both employees and employers, but neither party feels the proposed regulation will protect their rights. Unpaid and late wages are a widespread problem. The new proposal stipulates that wages must be paid at least once a month and payment should not be more than five days late. A fine of 10,000 to 50,000 yuan (HK$9,428 to HK$47,145) will be imposed by the labour bureau if the employer fails to pay up within the requested time. Overtime must also be paid at a higher rate. While most workers who visited the site welcome the policy on wages, some feel the proposal does not provide protection of their rights. 'The penalty for employers who do not pay salaries on time should not been restricted to 50,000 yuan,' said Wang Yaoqi, a migrant worker from Jiangxi. 'It should correspond to the salary amount owed by employers.' In one case reported by local media, a factory owner owed workers 500,000 yuan in pay at the beginning of the year. Some workers even suggested that government departments should work together so that firms who owe workers salaries would be put on a blacklist and not allowed to renew their business licences the following year. 'They should not be allowed to leave the country,' one worker said. But some entrepreneurs feel that some of the regulations are too harsh and not pro-business. Hong Jun, who owns a printing shop, said: 'The regulation will definitely increase business costs. The only result will be that enterprises will move out to cities that have more lax regulations.' The draft regulation requires companies to allow women maternity leave on full pay and to pay no less than 60 per cent of the salary for those on sick leave or off work through injury. Some analysts believe the regulation helps to clarify the responsibility of employers and employees, making labour disputes easier to resolve. But enforcement of such a regulation will be difficult, they say.