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Two-child question worries female job seekers in Chongqing

Updated: 2016-02-25

By Tan Yingzi in Chongqing, chinadaily.com.cn

The new two-child policy is making job hunting more difficult for women as about 40 percent said they were asked whether they planned to have a second child during job interviews, according to a report in Chongqing.

China dropped its decades-long one-child policy in October and allowed each family to have two children. The country now has about 270 million married women of childbearing age.

This change has put millions of career women in a dilemma between family and career. Employers also face big challenges as more female workers will have two maternity leaves, in total seven to eight months.

A human resources website www.job.cq.qq.com conducted a survey among 500 employers and 5,000 job seekers about how the two-child policy affects the job market.

The southwest municipality has 30 million people.

Though two thirds of employers said the policy would make no difference to their recruitment, the survey showed that more than 70 percent of job seekers believe that bearing a second child will make women less popular in the job market.

Forty percent of employers said they will give priority to married women with two children, according to the survey.

Lin Xia, 29, quit her job after giving birth to her first child. She is now preparing to return to work. After several inquiries at a job fair, she found that the employers are concerned about future birth plans.

"I thought it would be easier to find a job after giving birth," she was quoted as saying by the website.

"I had to answer whether I will have a second child before I could get a chance for a job interview."

Liang Siqi, 23, a college graduate, said although employers did not ask her the child question yet, she will not plan to have two children.

"It (having two children) will definitely affect my career and personal life, so I will have only one," she said.

Zhou Jiansong, who is in charge of human resources at a large private high-tech group in Chongqing, said the company will discuss birth issues with interviewees in order to make a better work plans.

"We fully respect a women's right to bear a child or two," he said. "But you don't want them to go on maternity leave soon after they join your company."

Qu Sancai, a senior partner at a law firm, said that for the employers, asking the two-child question is not helpful during the interview as there is no way they can stop employees from having a child.

"I will not ask such questions when recruiting women," he said. "I am more concerned about their future stability at a job."

The experts expect more labor dispute cases concerning maternity leave rights when bearing a second child in future.

Lan Yunpeng, director of Chongqing Labor Disputes Arbitration Commission, suggested that legislators should improve laws and regulations and draft an Employment Non-Discrimination Act as soon as possible, according to the Chongqing Economic Times.

"We should make the employers dare not discriminate against females and employing women becomes their legal duty," he said.

At the same time, he said, the government should give incentives to companies who employ women.

Deng Rui contributed to the story

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