New Law Looks After Babysitters

China's first law on babysitters and housekeepers will be born this year in Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in South China's Guangdong Province.

Local legislators said a draft was being evaluated and revised and would be passed shortly.

The new law aims to offer protection to family service providers, such as housekeepers, tutors and babysitters, following a number of complaints about maltreatment.

The Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) was established in the 1980s and is now populated mostly by immigrants from other parts of the country. It has become one of the largest markets for family services.

Official statistics show that every family in Shenzhen spends more than 500 yuan (US$60) on average every month on family services.

However, compared with laborers in other industries, family service workers are at a disadvantage in the workplace because they are mostly new immigrants and poorly educated.

A survey of 100 careers in Shenzhen rated family service the career with the third worst reputation, only coming behind sales and security.

The problems led to the drafting of the Regulations on Family Services in Shenzhen SEZ last November.

While defining the responsibilities and duties of family service workers, the regulations stipulate that they have the right to stop providing services when employers break contracts and laws, as well as the right to ask for compensation for any injury or damage, according to the draft.

The regulations also make a clear definition about the legal responsibilities of all the parties involved in providing family services, the employers, the agencies and the workers themselves.

Local analysts said the definitions provide effective legal answers and can reduce the mounting disputes.

(China Daily 01/08/2001)

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