Female Employees to Receive Greater Benefits, Special Working Conditions
Nov. 22 – Female employees in China may receive greater maternity benefits in the future, including longer maternity leave, as well as special working conditions and expanded health care coverage, according to the new “Provisions on Female Labor Protection under Special Circumstances (Draft for Public Opinions)” disclosed by the Legislative Affairs Office of China’s State Council yesterday.
Longer maternity leave
Compared to the 90-day maternity leave under the existing law, the new Draft Provisions suggest the duration of maternity leave be extended to 14 weeks, including a two-week long prenatal leave. In cases of dystocia, an additional two-week maternity leave shall be allowed and in case of a multiple-child birth, an additional two-week maternity leave shall be given for each additional infant.
Furthermore, no less than two-weeks maternity leave shall be offered in cases of a(n) miscarriage/abortion after a shorter than four month-term pregnancy, and no less than six-weeks maternity leave shall be given in cases of a(n) miscarriage/abortion after a longer than four-month pregnancy.
Better working conditions
The Draft Provisions also specify better working conditions for female employees.
Pregnant women will be able to ask for a lesser work load and working position adjustments, and will also be protected by the law from working over-time or at night during the period when they are pregnant for over seven months, or feeding their less than one-year-old babies.
In addition, the Draft Provisions provide a list of jobs and working conditions women are forbidden to be subject to in general, or under certain circumstances.
- In general, female workers shall not be hired to conduct mining operations or any other operations where the labor intensity exceeds the durable standard specified in the Draft Provisions.
- A female employee during her menstruation shall be protected from engaging in cold water operations, low temperature operations, and highly labor-intensive operations that exceed bearable legal standards stipulated in the Draft Provisions.
- A female employee during her pregnancy shall be kept from working environments with poisonous or harmful chemicals and operations at height, in cold water, in low/high temperatures, in noisy environments, or with high labor intensity. Actual standards for those work conditions are detailed in the Draft Provisions.
Use of maternity insurance
A female employee during her maternity leave will receive a maternity allowance – with the amount equaling the average monthly salary of all company employees during the previous year – from the social maternity insurance fund. However, if an employer does not buy the maternity insurance for its employees, it shall keep paying the employee her current monthly salary during her maternity leave.
The medical care costs associated with giving birth or miscarriage shall also be covered by the social maternity insurance fund. However, the costs shall be paid by the employer if it has not purchased maternity insurance for its employees.
Other recently-issued draft regulations further emphasized the government’s plan to make maternity insurance a mandatory social welfare payment for employers, together with the other four types of social insurance contributions.
Greater health care
The Draft Provisions emphasized that the time a pregnant female employee spends on prenatal medical checks during the work day shall be paid as normal working hours.
During her breast-feeding period, female workers shall be granted no less than one hour everyday during work hours for breast-feeding. In cases where the female worker has a multiple-child birth, an additional breast-feeding hour shall be offered for every additional baby.
An employer shall also arrange gynecological exams for all its female employees at least once every two years, and the exam time shall be counted as work hours.
An employer that violates the Provisions shall be fined between RMB1,000 and RMB5,000 for every female employee whose labor rights are infringed upon. Employers could also face other legal charges.
The Draft Provisions are open for public opinions before December 23, 2011. Opinions can be voiced through the following avenues:
- Via Internet: Post opinions in the “Opinion Collection System for Draft Regulations” at www.chinalaw.gov.cn
- Via mail: Send opinions to
Beijing, 100035, PRC
and specify “Collection of opinions on ‘Provisions on Female Labor Protection under Special Circumstances’” on the envelope
- Via E-mail: Send opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dezan Shira & Associates is a boutique professional services firm providing foreign direct investment business advisory, tax, accounting, payroll and due diligence services for multinational clients in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and India. For further information or clarification on China’s social insurance or HR policies, please email email@example.com.
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