On 28 April 2012, the Regulations on Special Labor
Protection of Female Employees (the "New
Regulations") were released by the PRC State Council. They
became effective on the same day and replaced the old
Regulations on Labor Protection of Female Employees (the
"Old Regulations") issued twenty four years ago.
Compared to the Old Regulations, the maternity leave of the
female employees has increased from 90 days to 98 days. This is in
compliance with the provisions of 14 weeks provided in the
Maternity protection Convention of the International Labor
The New Regulations also divided the work prohibited for female
employees into four categories, i.e. work prohibited for all female
employees, work prohibited for female employees during
menstruation, work prohibited for female employees who are pregnant
and work prohibited for female employees during their nursing
The New Regulations introduced for the first time the
administrative sanctions for violation of the rights of female
employees. For example, if the employer, in breach of the law,
requires a female employee who is pregnant or nursing to work
overtime or at night, a fine from RMB 1,000 to RMB 5,000 can be
imposed on the employer for each female concerned. If the employer
requires a female employee who is pregnant or nursing to perform
work falling into the prohibition category, the employer can be
subject to a fine from RMB 50,000 to RMB 300,000. In serious cases,
the relevant business of the employer can be shut down by the
Finally, the New Regulations impose upon the employer the
obligation to protect female employees against sexual harassment
and to stop any sexual harassment at the work place. It is the
first time that PRC law imposes such responsibilities on the
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