China: Legislative Changes to the PRC Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women
The PRC Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women (“the Law”) was revised and adopted on 30 October 2022, which will come into force on 1 January 2023.
The Law expressly prohibits the employer from discriminating against women in the whole process of employment. If the employer discriminates against female employees and refuses to make corrections, the employer may face a fine of not less than ten thousand yuan but not more than 50 thousand yuan. The Law also stipulates that the employer can only ask about the basic personal information of female employees, explicitly prohibited to ask about the marriage and childbearing status of the female employees, and the pregnancy test is not allowed as the entry physical examination item.
The new provision of this Law strengthens special protection for female employees, including attaching importance to the health of female employees, requiring that female employees shall be regularly arranged to check for gynecological diseases, breast diseases and other health checkups for women’s special needs.
In addition, the Law has made innovations according to the characteristics of the times, which are mainly reflected in the enrichment of the anti-sexual harassment system in the workplace. Broadly speaking, the Law defines the concept of sexual harassment in principle, stipulates the responsibility of schools and employers to prevent and control sexual harassment, and lists in detail measures to prevent and curb sexual harassment in the workplace.
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
The revision of the Law has focused on prominent problems in the protection of women’s rights and interests in recent years, with clear provisions on implementing gender equality, eliminating gender discrimination in employment, and paying attention to women’s physical and mental health. The Employer shall revise the employee handbook and other rules and regulations to meet the new requirements of labour compliance and effectively safeguard women’s rights and interests in accordance with the law.