Shanxi first province to give women ‘menopause rights’

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By HUANG YING in Bei­jing and SUN RUISHENG in Taiyuan

An em­ployee at Taiyuan Public Trans­port Hold­ings Ltd in Shanxi province may be­come the first to ben­e­fit from newlaws in­tro­duced to give women un­der­go­ing menopause the right to ask their em­ploy­ers to ad­just their work to bet­ter suit their con­di­tion.

An Jianx­i­ang will now be able to move roles if she feels she can­not ful­fill her du­ties be­cause of the is­sues in­volved. It is the first ever law to give menopausal rights to fe­male work­ers in China.

The province’s first women’s la­bor lawwas passed by its lo­cal leg­isla­tive body in late July and will come into force on Oc­to­ber 1. The menopause ar­ti­cle was added af­ter public sur­veys found that there was a strong de­sire among women for pro­tec­tion of their la­bor rights dur­ing this tran­si­tional time in their lives.

In ad­di­tion, the law pro­vides spe­cific rights to women re­lat­ing to the times when they are ei­ther men­stru­at­ing, in preg­nancy, dur­ing la­bor or breast feed­ing.

“Fe­male em­ploy­ees take up more than one-third of our to­tal 10,000 work­force,” said Jia Shan, chair­man of the la­bor union at Taiyuan Public Trans­port.

“There will be no prob­lem im­ple­ment­ing the reg­u­la­tion across ad­min­is­tra­tive units of State-owned com­pa­nies, but it’s hard to say whether it willbe­strict­ly­im­ple­mented in small and mi­cro en­ter­prises.”

The All-China Women’s Fed­er­a­tion web­site said the law will be ap­pli­ca­ble to both public and pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tions. It also said to en­sure its en­force­ment, the law will stip­u­late that “gov­ern­ments above county lev­els should in­clude the in­di­ca­tor of fe­male em­ploy­ees’ la­bor pro­tec­tion into the so­cial credit sys­tem and take mea­sures to pro­tect their le­git­i­mate rights”.

Fu Xiaoying, a fe­male em­ployee from the Shanxi branch of Sinopec Corp, said: “I think it’s hard to de­fine pro­tec­tion of­wom­en­work­ers dur­ing menopause.

“Some women are not will­ing to let oth­ers know that they are men­su­rat­ing, as they have wor­ries that this might bring about dis­crim­i­na­tion or un­fair treat­ment in the work­place.”

One HR su­per­vi­sor at a public re­la­tions com­pany in Bei­jing said: “The new reg­u­la­tion has two sides: on the one hand, it could help make it eas­ier for fe­male em­ploy­ees at work­places, but on the other, it could in­crease the risk of abuse of their rights.”

An­hui province and Wuhan in Hubei province­have re­leased sim­i­lar reg­u­la­tions. Women work­ers who suf­fer men­strual cramps can ask for one or two days off from work.

Fe­male em­ploy­ees take up more than one-third of our to­tal 10,000 work­force...”

Con­tact the writ­ers at huangy­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn and sun­ruisheng@chi­nad­daily.com.cn

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