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China offers flexible jobs for mothers

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Chinese provinces are urging companies to offer women flexible job roles called “Mama’s Posts” that make it easier to balance work and childcare, the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday.

Authorities are trying to encourage more women to have children after China’s population fell for a second consecutive year in 2023 and births touched a record low.

“Mama’s Post is a position specially created for mothers … the working hours are relatively flexible, making it easier to balance work and childcare,” the agency said.

Many mothers stay out of the job market for more than three years until their children are old enough to enter daycare and require flexible working hours on returning to the workforce, the report said.

While many employers explore the “Mother’s Post” model, available job options are often limited, with most involving short or temporary contracts, making it tough to protect women’s legitimate rights and interests, it said.

Many positions still involve labour-intensive tasks in manufacturing and processing, targeting more unskilled workers, such as some on offer in the city of Qingdao in the eastern province of Shandong.

But in richer southern Guangdong authorities are looking to promote the new model across all the cities of the province, in professional, technical and management positions, the agency said.

Many women in China choose to stay childless due to the high cost of childcare, unwillingness to marry or put careers on hold in a traditional society.

Longer maternity leave, financial and tax benefits for having children and housing subsidies are among the incentives to boost the birth rate that authorities have rolled out.

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