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Article | Global News Briefs

China: Proposed amendments to the Law on the Protection of Women's Rights and Interests

By Fiona Huang and Christine Huang | February 25, 2022

China proposes legal amendments to overhaul protections for women’s rights in the workforce.
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Employer Action Code: Monitor

Draft amendments to the Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights and Interests would introduce guidance for employers to protect women's employment rights as well as stricter requirements for employers to create a more female-friendly work environment. The amendments are currently under review with the Standing Committee of Congress.

Key details

The proposed revisions include:

  • Prohibiting discrimination against women during the recruitment process — including prohibitions on inquiring about a female applicant’s marital or childbearing status, prioritizing male applicants or making jobs available only to men — and prohibiting pregnancy tests as part of pre-employment medical checks
  • Expanding the participation of female employees in decision making on rules and regulations and other consultation activities related to employees' rights and interests, by requiring that the proportion of female employees' representatives matches the proportion of female staff to the total number of workers in the company
  • Requiring employers to include information on gender equality in their annual reports (which will be publicly disclosed), such as data on female employees recruited and the gender ratio of the workforce and of the management team
  • Requiring employment contracts and service agreements to include special clauses on the protection of female employees, which may specify banned types of work for female staff, special labor protection(s) during pregnancy, equal employment opportunities and equal pay for equal work
  • Requiring employment contracts and service agreements not to include any clauses in terms of marital or childbearing status
  • Obligating employers to act to prevent and stop sexual harassment in the workplace, the different forms of which are defined in the draft (for the first time at the national legislation level)
  • Subjecting employers violating the law to rectification measures or penalties ranging from 10,000 yuan to 50,000 yuan in cases of serious circumstances

Employer implications

This would be the third revision of the law since its promulgation on October 1, 1992. The draft amendments contains significant changes intended to eliminate gender discrimination against women in employment and to refine the public interest litigation system in order to protect women's rights and interests. Employers should monitor progress of the draft provisions and be prepared to comply with them when the revised law is promulgated.


Fiona Huang

Christine Huang

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