Thu, 07 Jul 2022

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GUANGZHOU, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Working moms in factories in China's Pearl River Delta region, also its manufacturing hub, can now take a breath to strike their work-life balance thanks to posts designed for busy parenting workers.

More than 30 million migrant workers nationwide have been attracted to the region, with machinery pounding away day and night. In recent years, under China's encouraging childbirth policies, more and more factory workers have come to the region with more than just one child in their family.

Facing labor shortages and mounting parenting burdens of female workers, some regional factories have launched "mother posts" with more flexible working schedules but the same work content, labor security, and welfare.

Zhongshan Richsound Electronic Industrial Ltd, a foreign trade company, used to lack sufficient workers when bulks of orders flooded into its factory, said Yu Qing, the company's vice president.

In 2019, the company visited its nearby villages and found many local housewives willing to work on the assembly lines. However, the traditional working model of production lines disrupts their family life.

After some targeted adjustments on production lines, the company set up "mother posts" for the villagers, where they can be involved in simple production processes. Currently, one-third of the company's employees are on "mother posts."

Lin Yumei now can take good care of two children at home while working in the company's factory. "I had been looking for job opportunities for more than a year. Usual factory work demands long hours of attendance, while the service sector like restaurants has a conflicting work schedule with parenting time," said Lin.

A "mother post" in her current work at Zhongshan Richsound Electronic Industrial Ltd., however, allows the mother to leave at around 4:30 p.m., the right time to return home and prepare food for her children.

Considering emergencies in need of temporary leave, the company also trains part of the staff to fit various positions. Whenever mothers ask for days off, relevant competent staff can help complete their work on time.

Yang Shaoren shifted to the "mother post" after getting pregnant, and now she is among the staffers trained to help the factory meet urgent needs. "I am capable of all kinds of jobs in the workshop. The factory does not need to worry when working moms have a day off."

Some companies doubt that such a flexible work schedule for females can ensure the successful delivery of products, especially when the factory gets swamped with orders. But Yu disagrees due to simple facts.

Monitoring data have shown that the mothers' 8-hour work can produce the same capacity as the 10-hour efforts of other workers, and the products they make suggest a higher quality. Therefore, the production task of high-end products goes to the "mother workshops," said Yu.

"It is just a tiny adjustment, but it brings the company huge profits. With stable staff inflow and sufficient production capacity amid the COVID-19 epidemic, the working moms can do valuable orders for our company." Yu called the "mother posts" a "win-win" deal.

Another local company, Zhongshan Zhiniu Electronic Co., Ltd., launched "mother posts" in 2016. Now, 86 percent of its workshop staff are mothers.

Job fairs targeting mothers have taken place in Zhongshan City, south China's Guangdong Province, to follow the "she-power" trend. Job opportunities covering clerks, sales, customer services, and the like are offered. More than 2,000 "mother posts" have been provided by the municipal government, helping over 500 women land jobs.

"It is well-received among the employees. It helps tackle the labor shortage of some enterprises, and more companies are turning their eyes to the novel posts," said Li Yongyu with the city's personnel management office.

Yu believes that as China rolls out supporting policies to encourage childbirth, an increasing number of families with more than one child will emerge.

"The "mother post" is the manufacturing enterprises' latest response to the inevitable trend. More and more jobs with flexible work schedules will likely be adopted in the future," Yu added.

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