"Are you married", "You haven't had children just after graduating", "Do you want a second child"...

【Remove invisible employment threshold (1)】Job seekers are questioned about "marriage and childbearing", and when gender discrimination will be suspended

Employment is the most basic livelihood, connected to the lights of thousands of homes and the overall situation of development. To promote quality and full employment, we must create a fair employment environment and provide equal employment opportunities for every worker.

However, in the actual recruitment process, many job seekers still face different forms of employment discrimination: "as long as male" gender discrimination; Academic discrimination using 985 and 211 schools as mandatory conditions; Do not discriminate against the health of patients with infectious diseases and pathogen carriers; Age discrimination in recruiting only persons under the age of 35, etc.

In order to protect the fair employment rights and interests of workers, China's labor law stipulates that workers enjoy equal employment and the right to choose occupation, and workers are not discriminated against in employment on the basis of ethnicity, race, gender and religious belief. Relevant departments have issued documents many times, strictly prohibiting discriminatory content in recruitment. Some employers have turned to a more covert approach to shutting out job applicants.

These invisible employment thresholds undermine the self-confidence of job seekers, violate the right of individuals to equal employment, and undermine the level playing field in the job market. In order to promote the elimination of unreasonable restrictions and employment discrimination that affect equal employment, so that everyone has the opportunity to achieve their own development through hard work, from now on, this edition will launch a series of reports on "Removing the Invisible Employment Threshold", please pay attention to it. —Editor

Not long ago, Zhang Lanlan, who was about to graduate with a master's degree, received a polite reply after submitting her resume to a sales position in an Internet company in Shenyang on the recruitment platform: "Warm reminder, this position is highly intense, requires temporary overtime and business trips, which is more suitable for men." ”

"What's the difference between this veiled hint and 'men only'?" Subsequently, she complained to the recruitment platform that she had encountered gender discrimination in employment, but the platform rejected it because of "insufficient evidence".

The reporter's interview found that many employers will not openly say that they only recruit men, but instead implicitly hint at the difficulties in the process of entry, work and promotion of women, and even inquire about the status of marriage and childbirth, making employment gender discrimination change from light to dark. In order to break the employment discrimination against women, it is also necessary to establish a socialized sharing mechanism for childbearing costs and create a more inclusive and friendly employment environment for women.

Covert "investigation" of marriage and childbirth

When chatting with dormitory classmates about job search, Zhang Lanlan found that everyone had been tactfully asked about their marriage and childbearing status: "Are you married", "You should not have children just graduated", "Do you want a second child"... Some students were asked to fill in the family relationship including spouse and children, and some students were prompted, "The unit only has male duty rooms."

In fact, job search encounters like Zhang Lanlan and female classmates are not uncommon. Not long ago, Zhaopin.com released a "3 China Women's Workplace Status Survey Report" with the participation of 9,2023 professionals, showing that 61.1% of women were asked about marriage and childbirth status in job searches, much higher than 21.5% of men.

The reporter learned that although some employers do not limit gender in the recruitment advertisement and recruitment process, they covertly "examine" the marriage and childbirth of female job seekers in the interview and other processes, and take this as an important factor in whether they can be hired.

The "threshold" is not only present in the period of job search, but also throughout the different stages of women's careers. When to get married and have children has become an unavoidable problem for women in the workplace. The report points out that compared with men, marriage and childbirth are a major obstacle to women's career development, especially women of childbearing age.

When it comes to the obstacles to promotion faced by working mothers, Liu Shujun feels that she has a lot of say. She is engaged in accounting work and has been rated as an outstanding employee of the department for three consecutive years. It took her 11 years to move from staff to deputy minister, and other colleagues in the department "basically worked for 3 to 5 years to get promoted."

When Liu Shujun gave birth to her first child on maternity leave, the company began to recruit new people to take over, so that she hurriedly returned to work before her maternity leave was completed. "The company always felt that my children needed to be taken care of, and they delayed promotions." Her promotion was not on the agenda until her youngest son was 3 years old, but the company also gave additional conditions, requiring "due diligence during working hours, and entertainment and work outside of working hours."

Stealth increases the difficulty of rights protection and evidence collection

China has always attached great importance to women's employment and has ensured women's equal employment rights and interests through continuous improvement of laws and regulations and the introduction of policies and measures.

The Labour Law and the Employment Promotion Law clearly stipulate that "women have equal employment rights with men" and that "women may not be refused employment on the grounds of sex or the recruitment standards for women may not be raised". The newly revised Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women further summarizes and prohibits five types of gender discrimination in employment, including that in addition to basic personal information, it is forbidden to further inquire or investigate the marriage and childbirth status of female job seekers, and that restrictions on marriage and childbirth or marital or childbearing status cannot be used as a condition for recruitment (employment).

With so much attention and meticulous regulations at the legal level, why do employers continue to discriminate on the basis of sex?

"Before taking up the post, I said that I would be suitable for the post for three years, and I would give birth to a baby in less than half a year, and give birth to two in three years." From Chen Yong, an HR who has worked for 13 years, the reporter heard the pressure from the company. He believes that the main reason for women's employment discrimination is that enterprises believe that female trade unions "delay" more time and energy due to childbirth, reduce work participation and labor efficiency, and virtually increase labor costs.

After the complaint was rejected, Zhang Lanlan did not continue to appeal. Although the human resources staff clearly stated in the telephone communication that "only men are recruited", she did not have a recording certificate, and "only replied to the letter by email, and some evidence was insufficient." Invisible employment discrimination increases the difficulty of obtaining evidence for workers, and the imperfect punishment mechanism for this behavior in many places exacerbates gender discrimination in employment to a certain extent.

Meng Yuping, a legal expert at the Liaoning Labor and Personnel Dispute Research Association, said that the current provisions related to the protection of women's employment rights and interests are scattered in the Women's Rights and Interests Protection Law, Labor Law, and Employment Promotion Law, and lack a guarantee implementation mechanism. ”

Create a childbirth-friendly employment environment

Some provinces and municipalities have clarified administrative punishment standards for gender discrimination in employment. At the beginning of this year, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security issued the "Beijing Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Administrative Punishment Discretionary Benchmark Table (Involving the Law on the Protection of Women's Rights and Interests)", which clarifies that employers who refuse to hire (hire) women on the grounds of gender during the recruitment (employment) process may be fined up to 50,000 yuan.

In Chen Yong's view, explicit employment discrimination is easier to identify and effective in punishing, while for hidden infringements, "increasing punishment alone cannot solve the problem."

"For employers, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, the pursuit is nothing more than a stable workforce and reducing operational risks. While increasing the punishment of employment discrimination, relevant departments should also take into account the interests of enterprises and guide them to regulate employment through policies. Chen Yong suggested that rewards and punishments should be used together, and enterprises that strictly implement women's equal employment rights should be rewarded, or tax incentives, housing leases and other policies should be given to increase the enthusiasm of enterprises to recruit female employees.

Some employers always feel that the recruitment of female unions increases the burden. The above-mentioned "Report" shows that many working mothers work harder than other working women, 48.5% of the interviewed working mothers work more than 9 hours a day, higher than 34% of unmarried women and 39% of married women without children. 54.7% of the women surveyed believe that the core element in promoting gender equality is "the responsibility of enterprises and society to bear the burden of childbearing".

Meng Yuping believes that in order to correct and prevent gender discrimination in employment, a reasonable childbirth cost sharing mechanism should also be established, on the one hand, government departments should earnestly assume the main responsibility of ensuring the supply of public services for childbirth, increase the construction of childcare institutions, help female employees balance work and family, and enhance employment competitiveness; On the other hand, through fiscal and tax subsidy policies and expanding the coverage of maternity insurance, the maternity costs borne by employers are appropriately shared, so as to create a good atmosphere and environment for fair employment for female job seekers. (Some respondents are pseudonyms)

(Daily Worker)