China: Amendment of the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women – what employers need to know


published on 29. December 2022 | reading time approx. 4 minutes

The rights of women in society, in the workplace, general equal treatment and the protection of specific interests of women are the focus of the amended Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Women and further regulations issued in this regard. These regulations also place particular obligations on employers. In this article, we will first examine the legal situation and separately discuss concrete recommenda­tions for employers with regard to the specific requirements of the law.

Legal background

On 1 January 2023, the amended version of the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Women (the "Law") adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on 30 October 2022 will come into force. This is the third amendment to the initial 1992 Law.

Key provisions 

The amended law comprises 10 chapters with 86 articles. In addition to introductory and final provisions, the individual chapters deal with women's political rights, rights and interests in relation to the person and person­ality rights, in relation to culture and education, in relation to work and social security, in relation to property, in relation to marriage and the family, as well as regulations on remedial or corrective measures and on legal responsibility, including penal provisions. The law is thus aimed at a wide range of addressees: state bodies, public organizations, enterprises and public institutions, self-governing mass organizations and other organiza­tions as well as individuals.

Protection of women's rights and interests with regard to work and social security

Employers should pay particular attention to the provisions on the protection of women's rights and interests in relation to work and social security (Chapter 5, Articles 41 et seq.). Their most important provisions stipulate the following:

Key provisions​
​Article 43: prohibition of gender discrimination during recruitment
  • ​restricting to male applicants or stipulating that preference is given to men
  • request for information on marital status and possible desire to have children in addition to general personal information
  • carrying out a pregnancy test as part of the health check at the time of recruitment
  • the reliance on marriage or motherhood as a criterion for recruitment and employment
  • other conduct in which the hiring of women is denied on the basis of their gender or in which the standards for hiring women are raised in a deviant manner
​Article 44: mandatory provisions in employment contracts
  • ​inclusion of special provisions for the protection of female employees
  • no restrictions on marriage, childbearing and other provisions for female employees
  • inclusion of equality between men and women and protection of the rights and interests of female employees in collective agreements
​Article 45: prohibition of unequal pay
  • equal pay for equal work
  • equal treatment with regard to the use of social benefits
​Article 46: prohibition of gender discrimination during employment​equal treatment in aspects such as promotion, assessment of professional and technical qualifications and training
Article 47: special protective measures
  • measures to ensure women's rights to safety, health and rest at the workplace and during work
  • special protection during menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding
​Article 48: prohibition of measures relating to marriage, pregnancy, maternity leave and breastfeeding
  • no reduction in wages and social benefits
  • no restriction on aspects such as promotion, assessment of professional and technical qualifications and training
  • no dismissal or unilateral termination of employment or service contract

Protection against sexual harassment

Article 1010 of China's Civil Code (CC) already requires companies to adopt and implement internal regulations regarding protection against sexual harassment, handling complaints and reports, and clarifying and cooper­ating with investigating authorities. The Law defines in Article 23 verbal remarks, written remarks, pictures, physical acts or other acts against the will of women as sexual harassment. Employers' obligations to prevent sexual harassment are now also included in Article 25 of the Law. According to this, employers are obliged to take the following measures to prevent and stop sexual harassment of women:

  • formulation of rules and regulations prohibiting sexual harassment
  • establishment of a complaints office with designation of the responsible department or a responsible employee
  • conducting education and training to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment
  • taking the necessary safety and security measures
  • establishing complaint and reporting systems, e.g. telephone, mailbox, etc., and providing complaint channels
  • establishing and improving investigation and handling procedures, handling disputes in a timely manner and protecting the privacy and personal data of those affected
  • support and assist women victims in defending their rights under the law and provide psychological counselling to women victims when necessary
  • other appropriate measures to prevent and stop sexual harassment


Medical screenings

Employers are also required under Article 31 to arrange for their female employees to have regular gynecologi­cal and breast examinations, as well as other health examinations specifically required for women.


Additional legal provisions

For the sake of completeness, reference should also be made once again to the provisions in Articles 58 et seq. of the Labour Law, which also contain protective provisions for women as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, especially with regard to employment in various fields, maternity protection and also working hours.


Liability and penal provisions

Article 74 of the Law provides that if an employer violates the rights and interests of a woman in the field of labor and social security, the Human Resources and Social Security Authority, together with the trade union and the women's federation, may admonish the employer, carry out supervision and inspection as required by law, and require the employer to make corrections within a specified period of time.

If an employer fails or refuses to take required measures in violation of the provisions of the Law, sanctions may be imposed on the persons directly responsible. For a violation of the provisions in Articles 43 and 48 of the Law, fines of up to 50,000 RMB may also be imposed on an employer if the employer fails to rectify or correct the situation after being requested to do so, or if the circumstances are serious.


Recommended actions

To the recommendations for employers with regard to the specific requirements of the Law »

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