Special Rules on the Labor Protection of Female Employees in China

Below you can find the translated English version of the Special Rules on the Labor Protection of Female Employees in China issued by the State Council on April 28th, 2012.

Article 1 These Rules are formulated in order to reduce and resolve the special difficulties which female employees may have in the course of their labor due to their physiological characteristics, and to protect their health.

Article 2 These Rules shall apply to employers such as state organs, enterprises, public institutions, social organizations, individual economic organizations, and other social organizations within the territory of the People’s Republic of China and their female employees.

Article 3 Employers shall strengthen the labor protection of female employees, take measures to improve labor safety and health conditions for female employees, and provide training on labor safety and health knowledge to female employees.

Article 4 Employers shall abide by the provisions on the scope of prohibited labor for female employees. An employer shall notify in writing the female employees of the positions which fall within the scope of prohibited labor for female employees.

The scope of prohibited labor for female employees shall be listed in the Annex to these Rules. The work safety administrative department of the State Council shall, jointly with the administrative department of human resources and social security of the State Council and the health administrative department of the State Council, make adjustments to the scope of prohibited labor for female employees in light of economic and social development.

Article 5 No employer shall reduce the wages of, dismiss, or rescind the labor or employment contract with a female employee due to pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.

Article 6 Where a female employee is no longer competent at her original labor during the period of pregnancy, the employer shall, based on the certificate of a medical institution, reduce the volume of labor or arrange other labor that she is competent at.

The employer shall not prolong labor hours or arrange night-shift labor for female employees in or after the seventh month of pregnancy and shall give certain rest time during their labor hours.

The time spent by pregnant female employees on antenatal examination during labor hours shall be included in labor hours.

Article 7 The maternity leave of female employees shall be 98 days, including 15 days of antenatal leave. Extra maternity leave of 15 days shall be granted in case of dystocia. Female employees who bear more than one baby in a single birth shall be granted an extra maternity leave of 15 days for each additional baby borne.

Female employees who have a miscarriage before the fourth month of pregnancy shall be granted 15 days of maternity leave, and female employees who have a miscarriage in or after the fourth month of pregnancy shall be granted 42 days of maternity leave.

Article 8 The maternity subsidy for female employees who have participated in maternity insurance during their maternity leave shall be paid by the maternity insurance fund and calculated on the basis of the average monthly wages of employees paid by employers during the previous year, and the maternity subsidy for female employees who have not participated in maternity insurance shall be paid by the employers and calculated on the basis of the wages of female employees prior to their maternity leave.

The medical expenses for the childbirth or miscarriage of female employees who have participated in maternity insurance shall be paid by the maternity insurance fund on the basis of the prescribed maternity insurance items and standards, and the medical expenses for those female employees who have not participated in maternity insurance shall be paid by the employers.

Article 9 No employer shall prolong labor hours or arrange night-shift labor for female employees who have to feed a baby under the age of one.

Employers shall, within the labor hours every day, arrange one hour of feeding time for female employees during the lactation period; and female employees who have borne more than one baby in a single birth shall be granted an extra feeding time of one hour for each additional baby fed.

Article 10 The employers with a relatively large number of female employees shall, based on their demand, establish facilities such as clinics for female employees, lounges for pregnant women, and feeding rooms, and shall properly resolve the physiological, health, and feeding difficulties encountered by their female employees.

Article 11 Employers shall prevent and prohibit the sexual harassment of female employees in their workplaces.

Article 12 The administrative department of human resources and social security and the work safety administrative department of the people’s government at or above the county level shall, in light of their respective duties, be responsible for supervising and inspecting employers’ compliance with these Rules.

Trade unions and women’s organizations shall supervise the employers’ compliance with these Rules pursuant to law.

Article 13 Where an employer violates paragraph 2 of Article 6, Article 7 or paragraph 1 of Article 9 of these Rules, the administrative department of human resources and social security of the people’s government at or above the county level shall order the employer to make corrections within a prescribed time limit, and impose a fine of not less than 1,000 yuan but not more than 5,000 yuan on the employer for each female employee whose right has been infringed upon.

Where an employer violates Article 1 or Article 2 of the Annex to these Rules, the work safety administrative department of the people’s government at or above the county level shall order the employer to make corrections within a prescribed time limit, and impose a fine of not less than 1,000 yuan but not more than 5,000 yuan on the employer for each female worker whose right has been infringed upon. Where an employer violates Article 3 or Article 4 of the Annex to these Rules, the work safety administrative department of the people’s government at or above the county level shall order the employer to undertake treatment within a prescribed time limit, and impose a fine of not less than 50,000 yuan but not more than 300,000 yuan on the employer; and if the circumstances are serious, order the employer to cease the relevant operations, or request the relevant people’s government to order a shutdown in light of the powers granted by the State Council.

Article 14 Where an employer violates these Rules by infringing upon the legitimate rights and interests of any female employee, such female employee may file a complaint, report or appeal pursuant to law, file a mediation and arbitration application with the institution in charge of the mediation and arbitration of labor and personnel disputes and, where unsatisfied with the arbitration award, file a lawsuit with the people’s court pursuant to law.

Article 15 Where an employer violates these Rules by infringing upon the legitimate rights and interests of any female employee and causing damage to the female employee, the employer shall make compensation pursuant to law; and where the employer or the person directly in charge of it or any directly liable person commits a crime, the liable person shall be subject to criminal liability pursuant to law.

Article 16 These Rules shall come into force on the date of issuance. The Provisions on the Labor Protection of Female Employees issued by the State Council on July 21, 1988 shall be abolished concurrently.

Annex: Scope of Prohibited Labor for Female Employees

I. Scope of prohibited labor for female employees
1. working in a mine well;
2. labor of Grade IV physical labor intensity as prescribed in the Classified Standard of Labor Intensity at Physical Work; and
3. work bearing a load of 20 kilograms or more each time, six times or more each hour, or discontinuously bearing a load of 25 kilograms or more each time.

II. Scope of prohibited labor for female employees during the menstrual period
1. Grade II, Grade III, and Grade IV work in low-temperature water as prescribed in the Classification of Work in Low-Temperature Water;
2. Grade II, Grade III, and Grade IV work in a low-temperature environment as prescribed in the Classification of Work in Low-Temperature Environment;
3. labor of Grade III and Grade IV physical labor intensity as prescribed in the Classified Standard of Labor Intensity at Physical Work; and
4. Grade III and Grade IV work at heights as prescribed in the Classification of Work at Heights.

III. Scope of prohibited labor for female employees during the pregnancy period
1. working at places where the concentration of lead and its compounds, mercury and its compounds, benzene, cadmium, beryllium, arsenic, cyanide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, carbon disulfide, chlorine, caprolactam, chloroprene, chloroethylene, ethylene oxide, aniline, formaldehyde or any other toxic substance in air exceeds the national occupational health standards;
2. engaging in the production of anticarcinogenic drugs or diethylstilbestrol, or being exposed to anesthetic gas;
3. engaging in the operation of unsealed source of radioactive substance, or emergency response to nuclear accidents and radiation accidents;
4. working at heights as prescribed in the Classification of Work at Heights;
5. working in low-temperature water as prescribed in the Classification of Work in Low-Temperature Water;
6. working in low-temperature environment as prescribed in the Classification of Work in Low-Temperature Environment;
7. doing Grade III and Grade IV work in high-temperature environment as prescribed in the Classification of Work in High Temperature Environment;
8. doing Grade III and Grade IV work under which employees are exposed to noise as prescribed in the Classification of Work of Employees Being Exposed to Noise;
9. engaging in labor of Grade III and Grade IV physical labor intensity as prescribed in the Classified Standard of Labor Intensity at Physical Work; and
10. working in enclosed spaces or at a high-pressure chamber or conducting diving operations, work accompanied by strong vibrations, or engaging in operations that require frequent bowing, climbing or crouching.

IV. Scope of prohibited labor for female employees during the lactation period
1. items (1), (3) and (9) of the scope of prohibited labor for female employees during the pregnancy period; and
2. working at places where the concentration of manganese, fluorine, bromine, methyl alcohol, organic phosphorus compounds, organochlorine compounds or any other toxic substance in air exceeds the national occupational health standards.

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