Female employees will earn the same salary during pregnancy and while nursing, according to amendments to a women's rights law.
The amended law was adopted at the 35th Session of the 12th Shanghai People's Congress which sat on Thursday.
The Protection of Women's Rights and Interests states that pregnant or nursing women can be moved to a new post but must keep the same pay.
"The previous law just stipulated that their basic wages must remain the same and their work contracts cannot be terminated," said Song Zhongbei, director of the female affairs division in the Shanghai Trade Union.
"So some enterprises reduced salary to the minimum wage after arranging a new post for the pregnant worker.
"But nowadays the basic wage only accounts for a very small portion of the total salary, so it is necessary to amend the law."
The law also states that pregnant or nursing workers are entitled to have their work load and work time reduced.
Employees should also get at least 80 percent of their salary when on maternity leave.
The amendments state that enterprises should hold women's health checks at least once every two years, and the government will organize regular checks for retired women.
The incidence of breast cancer in the city has increased in the past 30 years, Song said.
In 1972, 17.7 women out of every 100,000 developed breast cancer. In 2004 it was 55.66 out of 100,000.
"So we suggest enterprises hold health checks for women every year if possible, in order to ensure treatment for the disease, which is a major cause of death among women," Song said.
The law also suggests enterprises sign a special contract with female employees to guarantee their rights and interests.
"The special contracts represent the different cultures of enterprises," Song said.
The Shanghai Diesel Engine Co gives women employees more than seven months' pregnant an hour's extra break time a day.
More than 30,000 enterprises have signed special contracts with female employees, covering about 700,000 women in the city.
(Shanghai Daily April 28, 2007)