The Chinese communist regime is notorious for draconian family planning policies. But if a state quota on how many children a couple can have wasn’t enough, an elementary school in central China decided to dictate when its female teachers can get pregnant.
A female teacher from Shang Bo Elementary School in the city of Shangqiu in Henan Province recently claimed that she had to pay 800 yuan (about $122) to resign from her job because of pregnancy, according her post on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging service.
According to the female teacher’s employment contract, a photo of which she attached to her Weibo post, one of the clauses states: “If you cannot continue working or resign in the second semester because you become pregnant in the first semester, a fee of 2,000 yuan will be charged to you to find a substitute teacher or hire a new teacher.” The female teacher said that herself and three others eventually worked out a smaller fine for themselves after forcefully bringing the matter up with the school administration.
Liu Zhu, the principal of Shang Bo Elementary School, told semi-official Chinese online news website The Paper that no teacher voiced opposition to the clause when they signed the contract. He added that the school is attempting to be accountable to both the students and female teachers since “frequently changing teachers is irresponsible to the students.”
An unnamed school employee gave a more forthcoming reply to The Paper when the news outlet called the school office: “Being a private school, there is definitely no maternity leave.”
Under the comments section to the report in The Paper, netizens wrote that Shang Bo Elementary School’s contract for female teachers was an act of “discrimination against women” and a “violation of labor law.” A netizen from Hebei Province with the moniker “Chou Tian 2013” wrote: “This is also a form of birth control.”
“Can the school still provide education when it doesn’t understand how humans work?” asked another netizen.
Lawyer Li Huayang told The Paper that Chinese law plain states that employers are forbidden from restricting when their female employees get married or pregnant, so “Shang Bo Elementary School’s contract is a clear violation of the law and has no legal validity.”