Key Points

  • New regulations extend maternity leave for birth-giving and explicitly specify maternity leave for miscarriage.  
  • New regulations encourage employers to participate in maternity insurance programs.  
  • New regulations classify protection on female employees into four categories.  
  • Employers may face administrative sanction for violation of the new Regulations.  


On April 28 2012, the Special Labor Protection Regulations for Female Employees (the “Regulations”) entered into force, replacing the old Regulations on Labor Protection of Female Employees.  

Highlights of the Regulations

  • Maternity leave may be 15 days, 42 days or 98 days, as the case may be.  
  • Maternity insurance may be more attractive to employer.  
  • Employer has to assume obligations and liabilities.  
  • Maternity leave for birth-giving is extended from 90 days to 98 days.  
  • Female employees that miscarry within 4 months of getting pregnant are entitled to 15 days maternity leave.  
  • Female employees that miscarry after 4 months of pregnancy have 42 days maternity leave.

Employers’ Obligation – Summary

All Female Employees

  • Employers must prevent and put a stop to sexual harassment of female employees in the workplace.  
  • Employers shall organize training to female employees on labor safety.  
  • Employers must notify the female employees in writing if there is any of their work falls into the prohibited scope of work under the Regulations.  
  • The employer must not request female employees to engage in any work as listed Article 1 and Article 2 of the Addendum.

Pregnant Female Employees

  • Employers shall pay pregnant employees normally when they go for pre-natal medical checks during working days.  
  • Employers shall reduce work load or arrange other suitable work if pregnant employees could not adapt to their original work and there is a written advice from a doctor.  
  • The employer must give 7-month pregnant employees (and those later in the pregnancy) a break during the working hours every day.  
  • Female employees pregnant for 7 months or more must not be asked work overtime or at night or engage in any work listed in Article 3 of the Addendum.

Nursing Female Employees  

  • Employers must give one-hour break for breast-feeding during the working hours every day.  
  • Nursing female employees must not be asked work overtime or at night or engage in any work listed in Article 4 of the Addendum.  


These regulations seek to strengthen the protection of female employees and provide numerous regulations that employers must strictly adhere to.  

Employers are subject to administrative sanctions for violating any of the above obligations. Where violations occur, employers may be fined between RMB 1,000 and RMB 5,000 for each female employee it concerns. Employers requesting a pregnant or nursing employee to perform any prohibited work may be subject to a fine ranging from RMB 50,000 to RMB 300,000. In serious cases, the government authorities may order the employer to cease or close its business.  

It is essential that companies understand these regulations to ensure they avoid potentially substantial financial sanctions.