All female employees in Beijing, with or without the city’s permanent residency, would be exempt from childbirth fees from July 1, officials announced.
Under the new scheme, all medical expenses for health checkups during pregnancy and those incur when in labor will be covered by a social insurance system, which requires employers to be responsible for the payment of insurance premiums for their female workers, according to Wang Dexiu, deputy director with the Beijing Municipal Labor and Social Security Bureau.
Meanwhile, male workers in the city are also required to join the insurance scheme to cover the expenditure for birth control.
Companies who do not buy the insurance will have to cover the childbirth bills for their female employees.
The scheme will benefit an estimated 2.5 million women workers in Beijing.
The average cost of giving birth to a baby has risen over the past decade.
“The cost was nearly 4,000 yuan (US$480), using up my monthly pay,” said Liu Hui, an accountant and mother of an 8-month-old boy. Liu said the price for a Caesarean operation was double that of a natural birth.
About 30 other cities across the country are bringing in, or have brought in, similar insurance policies.
East China’s Zhejiang Province and Shanghai took the lead in introducing the policy five years ago.
In Beijing, only public servants were previously given help with childbirth fees.
(Shenzhen Daily/Agencies June 7, 2005)