Expat women in China being cheated of maternity benefits

Unhappy pregnancy test

While on paper China has some excellent maternity laws protecting expecting mothers from employers who would rather ditch them for a less baby-bearing hire, in practice this is not always the case.

In a recent piece for The Telegraph, Sarah O’Meara speaks to several expat women whom have been fired or otherwise wronged by their employers. They reveal what unscrupulous employers already know — while the laws are good, legal action is expensive, and even if successful, the settlement would unlikely cover the costs, never mind the hassle.

The monthly maternity benefit is calculated either by the employee’s monthly salary or the average monthly salary of all employees at the firm over the past 12 months. Individuals will be paid whichever is higher, but no more than three times the average salary in the local area.

In 2013, the average monthly wage in Shanghai was 5,036 RMB making the maternity allowance 15,108 RMB (£1,572.60) for that year.

If employees are denied payment and enter into legal arbitration with their company, then compensation will be paid for one month for every year they’ve been with the company and capped at three months.

For many expats, the financial compensation is simply not worth the legal fees. A single session with a local legal adviser can cost around £400.

Read the full article here.

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