Chinese employers can no longer ask female job applicants about their marital status and pregnancy plans. Last month, eight government departments, including the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and the Supreme People’s Court, issued a note to Chinese employers regarding the recruitment and promotion of women in the workplace.
The notice explains that women can no longer be asked about their marital status or plans for having children when applying for jobs and cannot be asked a take a pregnancy test as part of a medical exam. Such practices are common in China, where companies will actively avoid hiring recently married childless women on the assumption that they will soon fall pregnant and take maternity leave.
Gender inequality in the Chinese workplace is well documented. In 2018, a report by Human Rights Watch found that one in five jobs in China’s tech and government sectors advertised for “men only” or “men preferred” applicants. Another study in the same year by China’s Renmin University found that China employers were reluctant to offer positions to women planning to have a second child after the scrapping of the One Child Policy.
Under the new rules, Chinese employers could face a fine of RMB50,000 (USD7,451) if their job adverts are found to discriminate on grounds of gender. The notice states that recruitment processes should be standardized to promote equal opportunities for women, stating that such actions are the “basic national policy of our country”. Recommendations including setting up childcare services in the workplace, increasing return-to-work support for women after giving birth, and promoting career guidance for young women.
All women in China are currently entitled to 89 days maternity leave, which increases in certain provinces. Chinese employers, particularly in areas of greater maternity leave allocation or when the female employee has a particularly high salary, however, must sometimes bear some of the cost of paid maternity leave, making it economically unattractive for firms to hire women of a certain age.
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I can completely understand why employers would want to ask. They have every right not to hire someone who will immediately take a long leave of absence. That's not inequality at all; they're protecting their interests. Every female should be required to answer these questions and show pregnancy test results. It's perfectly reasonable
Mar 29, 2019 23:04 Report Abuse