Opinion / From the Press

'Soft welfare' needs supervision

(China Daily) Updated: 2012-04-26 08:12

Extending female workers' paid maternity leave is a good policy, but the authorities should supervise its implementation to avoid it resulting in gender discrimination in the employment market, says an article on Excerpt:

Last week the State Council approved a draft of the Special Regulation on Female Employees' Labor Protection, which extends female employees' paid maternity leave from 90 days to 98 days.

China's Labor Law enacted in January 1995 has strengthened the protection of women's rights. The extension to paid maternity leave shows the authorities' emphasis on a woman's right to have a child and the increase to this "soft welfare" reflects the trend of continuous improved social welfare in China.

The special regulation is good news for employees.

But while the policies may be followed by governmental organizations, institutions and large State-owned enterprises, some private firms won't implement the policies.

In some companies, it is difficult for female workers to get paid, never mind get maternity leave. Some employers even fire female workers when they get pregnant or are near to giving birth.

There are also other concerns about this kind of special protection.

In the current employment market that already tends to discriminate against women, it is possible that soft welfare that benefits female employees may lead to new gender discrimination.

It may make it even harder for women to find a good job.

To make the good intentions behind the regulation really benefit female employees, the authorities should upgrade the policies and truly guarantee female workers' rights and interests and contribute to social harmony.

(China Daily 04/26/2012 page9)

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