Fund to cover employed, new mothers
A special insurance fund will go into force in July to cover medical fees and maternity leave for new mothers in Beijing, who are urban employees.
It is part of a local regulation for birth insurance, which has been adopted by the Beijing municipal government.
It will cover women who are permanent residents in the capital and work for urban enterprises.
It is the fifth social insurance item to be added in Beijing following endowment, medical, employment and industrial injury coverage.
Under the new mother's regulation, enterprises are required to contribute to the fund.
An estimated 1.1 million employed women who are of childbearing age will be covered.
According to the regulation, the fund will be used to pay for medical exams, delivery itself, necessary operations, and the cost of hospitalization and medicines.
Women who are eligible for the fund but give birth at hospitals in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and foreign countries will not be covered.
Under the new terms, subsidies will be paid to new mums for 90 days, with 15 days added to paid maternity leave if they experienced difficulties during delivery.
If they have twins, another 15 days of maternity leave will be added.
"Currently, some enterprises are unwilling to hire female workers. That is largely because employers do not want to pay for their workers when they are away from work, giving birth to children," Wang Dexiu, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Labour and Social Security, was quoted by the Xinhua News Agency as saying.
"With the adoption of the new regulation, all urban enterprises have to pay for the fund, no matter whether they have female workers or not."
Wang said he believed the adoption of the insurance system would promote fairer employment opportunities for women.
"Meanwhile, the system will aid those enterprises that have comparatively bigger amounts of female workers," Wang said.
If an enterprise refuses to pay, it still needs to directly pay the woman who gives birth to a child the amount of money fixed by the regulation, according to Wang.More details about the regulation will be released to the public before the middle of the year.
Currently, government staff are the best looked after once giving birth.
However, women in private enterprises are dictated to by their employers, sources say.
Women who are unemployed have to cover the costs themselves.
Most online comments appearing on www.sina.com.cn yesterday were about the new insurance system.
But some people complained about the fact that only those with permanent residency would benefit.
"I have registered residency in Beijing but my wife does not. Then we are excluded. Is it fair?" an anonymous person said online yesterday.
Some said the government should pay for the fund, instead of enterprises.