New rule aims to protect female employees

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Job hunters seek positions and information at a career fair in Huaibei, Anhui province. [Photo by Wan Shanchao/For China Daily]
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Education and other central departments, recently issued a notice that forbids any gender discrimination against women in the workplace, Chinanews.com reported Thursday.

China has made great achievements in establishing gender equality. But some women, especially in pregnancy-related conditions, are still more likely to face discrimination in the workplace or while looking for jobs.

According to the notice, in the hiring practices, employers or companies focusing on providing human resource services cannot refuse to hire qualified female applicants or recruit them quid pro quo in a way that constrains them from having children.

To ensure the rights of women to give birth, the notice requires employers not ask female applicants non-job-related questions involving their marital status or number and ages of their children, nor have new female hirees take pregnancy tests.

A coordinated face-to-face meeting mechanism will be established to ensure the implementation of the new regulation. Employers who are reported to have discriminated against job applicants based on gender will be summoned. Those who refuse to stop or rectify the situation will be punished according the law and exposed to the public through media.

Employers and human resource companies who post in portals job advertisements that include gender bias shall be ordered to make corrections, and may face penalties and have their business licenses suspended.

The notice specified regulations to strengthen the judicial relief and legal aid system, and require courts to settle cases on equal employment opportunities to better handle disputes over gender discrimination against women.

The country will also strengthen the inspection of employers and human resource service organizations, investigate and deal with actions violating the labor protection law and infringing upon the legitimate rights and interests of female employees, and promote gender equality in employment.

In addition, more favorable measures will be taken to further support the employment of women such as enhancing job-training services for women, providing child care services for children under 3, and improving the maternity insurance system for female employees.

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