March 8 Marks International Women’s Day, Female Employees in China Entitled to Half Day Off

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Mar. 3 – March 8 marks International Women’s Day, a government holiday in China where female employees are entitled to a half day off from work.

Managers operating businesses in China should be aware of the legal implications surrounding this annual holiday. According to Chinese government regulations, all full-time female employees are entitled to a half day off from work every year on March 8. Essential female employees (such as hospital staff or police) who are required to work on March 8 must be compensated at three times their normal salary rate for the half day of work.

Employers are not required to give a half-day off if March 8 falls on a weekend or to part-time employees who already work half-days. Companies who do not recognize the holiday could face penalties levied by local governments if they are reported by their employees. China does not recognize any corresponding holiday for male employees.

International Women’s Day was first recognized by Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland at a conference in Copenhagen on March 19, 1911. March 8, 2010 marks the 101st anniversary of the event, which celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women.

This year thousands of events will be held throughout the month, including four in China. This year’s theme, developed in partnership with the United Nations, is, “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All.” For more information about International Women’s Day events in China, visit