New labor model protects working mothers

Updated: May 25, 2023 China Daily Print
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Jiang Guixiang usually goes to work at a garment factory in Zhongshan, Guangdong province, 15 minutes later than her colleagues, after sending her son to a local kindergarten.

"After arriving at the factory, I started working on the production line, and I leave to pick up up my child usually before 5 pm," said Jiang, 38.

Jiang found the job in April last year, after local human resources and social security authorities in 2021 pushed for flexible working hours for mothers raising children under 12 years old in 2021.

At the Heng Long Garment Factory, an increasing number of women, mostly mothers like Jiang, have found jobs, thanks to the flexible system.

"There are about 40 mothers working at the factory. After signing labor contracts, we were trained to work on the production line," said Jiang, who had to take part-time jobs while looking after her son before becoming a worker at the factory.

To better promote the flexible working hour system and provide employment for mothers, a job fair was organized in Zhongshan on Saturday, featuring a special employment zone for mothers who need work, according to the local human resources and social security authorities.

Care services such as mobile rooms for mothers and babies, with dedicated personnel to help look after the infants, were offered during the fair, according to the event's organizers.

The fair offered positions in various sectors, including consultants for the education and real estate industries, customer service, manufacturing, delivery and sales — with monthly salaries ranging from 4,000 yuan ($575) to 12,000 yuan.

"We will offer more than 20 positions on the production line for mothers who are looking for jobs during the fair, with monthly salaries reaching between 7,000 and 10,000 yuan," said Jian Shuyi, a human resource manager with Guangdong Yoye Wisdom Garment Technology Co.

Under the flexible working hour system, the company, which is also based in Zhongshan, will provide housing and catering subsidies for mothers, Jian said.

In July last year, the local human resources and social security authority enacted supporting measures, such as tax reductions, training, employment services and financial subsidies to promote the flexible system for mothers.

Local enterprises that hire women who are raising children under the age of 12 will be offered a monthly subsidy up to 400 yuan per person, with each employee also receiving a flexible employment social security subsidy of 300 yuan per month, the authorities said.

Providing positions for mothers would help retain workers as an increased number of companies have faced labor shortages in their production lines, according to Tan Qunying, human resources director of Tungtex Garment Co.

"We have launched a special production line for mothers who live near the factory. Their children also attend school nearby," Tan said.

Currently, there are 258 registered enterprises in Zhongshan, providing over 14,000 jobs for eligible women, according to Su Dan, deputy director of the Zhongshan Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.

"The flexible employment subsidies will be included in a supporting financial system for mothers who plan to start their own businesses at home," Su said.

The flexible employment model for mothers will be promoted across Guangdong, where the provincial Human Resources and Social Security Department recently solicited public input on promoting women's employment.

According to the draft presented by the department, the province will expand the employment space to help find jobs for women within the legal working age who have an obligation to raise children under the age of 12.

Under the employment model, the working hours and management mode will make it more convenient for women to take care of their children while holding a job at the same time.

The draft also called on enterprises to create a friendly work environment by establishing special workshops and production lines and providing infant care services for mothers.

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