Beijing Hospital Fines Women for ‘Unapproved Pregnancies’

Beijing Hospital Fines Women for ‘Unapproved Pregnancies’
Photo Credit: Corbis/達志影像

What you need to know

A Beijing hospital has collected thousands of dollars from female employees who have 'unapproved pregnancies.'

A Beijing hospital is requiring its female employees apply for approval before getting pregnant, the Chinese-language website Beijing News reports.

Under the policy, once the hospital gives its permission to a female employee, she is given a three-month window to become pregnant.

In the Aug 18 report, the Beijing local paper found that The Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital in Tongzhou District was fining employees who became pregnant before submitting an application or after the three-month term. The website also reports that since Jan. 1, 2012, the hospital has collected RMB190,000 (US$28,500) in fines from 11 female employees.

The Tongzhou District Health and Family Planning Commission started an investigation into the allegations immediately after the report was published.

The hospital issued a public apology and dropped the policy today. It also returned the fines that had been collected from employees who broke the rule.

Asked why the hospital had implemented the policy, a hospital representative said it was established because there were too many female staff of childbearing age, and that if they all took maternity leave at the same time, the hospital would face a staff shortage.

Internationally there has been controversy over the attempts by companies to encroach on the reproductive rights of their female employees. In 2014, Apple and Facebook caused an uproar after they offered cyropreservation and egg storage for their female employees, framing it as a work benefit for women in an effort to attract more women onto their staff.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole