Officials in the city of Daqing, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, conducted a special survey on its implementation of maternity insurance policies, researched statistics and proposed some corresponding countermeasures and suggestions.
Maternity insurance is a social insurance system enacted by the state through legislation. It aims to guarantee female employees' basic income and medical care when they temporarily lose their ability to work due to pregnancy, childbirth and maternity leave.
In order to support pregnant women and further protect women workers' legal rights, Daqing Municipal Office of the Working Committee on Children and Women (WCCW) and Daqing Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau jointly conducted a special investigation through an online questionnaire, field survey and seminar.
With the successive introduction of maternity insurance policies in Daqing, a relatively complete maternity insurance management system and procedure has formed and great achievements made, according to the statistics.
The coverage of maternity insurance in the city is expanding continuously. By the end of 2016, the insured reached 287,703, and the coverage rate of maternity insurance was 98 percent.
The maternity insurance benefits have also been gradually improved, which effectively alleviated the economic burden of female employees, and the declined proportion of maternity insurance payments further relieving the economic pressure on the insured units.
Moreover, the introduction of an online settlement for maternity insurance and medical expenses in designated hospitals realized an immediate settlement.
Companies use a simplified method, e-banking, to pay maternity allowances to individuals. This improved their work efficiency.
However, there are still some problems existing in the maternity insurance policy.
First, maternity insurance has not yet achieved full coverage. Statistics show that two percent of female employees have not participated in maternity insurance, including social groups, private non-enterprise units and individual businesses.
Second, the enterprises and employees cannot understand the policy clearly and completely. They fail to appreciate the significance of the maternity insurance system and know little about the standards, payment items and processes of the insurance benefits.
Third, the surplus of maternity insurance funds is too much to violate its fundraising principles.
Fourth, some units with more male employees are reluctant to pay maternity insurance because they think they cannot benefit from it yet have to take the same responsibility.
Moreover, a systematized social management system has not yet been established and the funds management is not scientific, which makes it difficult to protect employees' interests.
Officials of the investigation team put forward three suggestions to solve the problems.
First, officials should step up publicity and establish a linked mechanism to achieve the universal coverage of maternity insurance.
Officials should make full use of various media to disseminate the importance of maternity insurance and relevant policies so as to strengthen enterprises and employees' awareness to participate in the insurance.
Officials in the local WCCW should cooperate with relevant departments to achieve the coverage of maternity insurance in all industrial enterprises in urban and rural areas.
Second, officials should establish a standardized management system to ensure people enjoy the insurance benefits equally.
Third, officials should adjust the payment items and specific standards to comply with economic development. They should also extend the insurance to cover prenatal and postpartum services to better protect employees' interests.
Moreover, officials should explore a reasonable model to pay maternity allowance to employees directly and improve the online payment of the examination and surgery costs.
(Source: Heilongjiang Women's Federation / Translated and edited by Women of China)
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