China to enhance maternity benefits for women

China to enhance maternity benefits for womenBeijing, Nov 23 : Women workers in China are likely to get better maternity benefits following new regulations being contemplated in the country.

Under the new regulations, women will get longer maternity leave from work before and after childbirth, besides being barred from doing certain hazardous jobs, the China Daily reported. They will get prolonged maternity leave from the current 90 to 98 days.

The draft regulations, which the State Council's Legislative Affairs Office has posted on its website, would replace the existing provision which came into effect in 1988. Other benefits include at least two-week leave for women suffering a miscarriage (or having an abortion) if she has been pregnant for less than four months.

The draft suggests that employers allow women with infants less than a year old at least an hour a day for breast-feeding. Employers will be asked not to extend the work hours or put women on night duty during their breast-feeding period.

The new rules also stipulate that medical fees incurred during childbirth or miscarriage would be covered by the maternity insurance fund. In cases of employers not buying maternity insurance for workers, they will have to pay the medical fees.

Women will not be allowed to work in underground mines and they will not be given a job that requires them to bear a heavier than 20-kg load more than six times in an hour.

Pregnant women will be exempt from working in the vicinity of excessively hazardous chemicals. They will also be barred from performing tasks that require them to frequently bow or squat.

There are about 137 million women employees in China.(IANS)