Chinese firm to punish 'unscheduled' pregnancies

A Chinese firm plans to demand that its employees seek approval to get pregnant, and fine those who conceive without permission, reports said, provoking a media firestorm yesterday.
A Chinese firm plans to demand that its employees seek approval to get pregnant, and fine those who conceive without permission, reports said, provoking a media firestorm yesterday.PHOTO: ST FILE

BEIJING • A Chinese firm plans to demand that its employees seek approval to get pregnant, and fine those who conceive without permission, reports said, provoking a media firestorm yesterday.

"Only married female workers who have worked for the company for more than one year can apply for a place on the birth planning schedule," said a statement from a credit cooperative in Jiaozuo, in the central province of Henan.

"The employee must strictly stick to the birth plan once it is approved. Those who get pregnant in violation of the plan such that their work is affected will be fined 1,000 yuan (S$222)," it said.

News portal The Paper published a screen shot of the document, adding that a company representative had said the notice was a draft sent to its staff for their comment.

Violators will not be considered for promotion or awards and their incentives and year-end bonuses will be cancelled "if their pregnancy severely hindered their work", the policy said.

The circular triggered scathing criticism from local media, with the state-run China Youth Daily lambasting it as bizarre.

The company "does not regard its employees as living human beings, instead it treats them as working tools on the production line", it said in a commentary.

Official interference in personal matters has a long history in communist China, with the "one-child policy" birth control rules, which were imposed in the late 1970s limiting most couples to a single offspring, being the most well known.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2015, with the headline 'Chinese firm to punish 'unscheduled' pregnancies'. Print Edition | Subscribe