Recruitment no place for regional bias, NPC warns
China’s top legislature has called on governments to offer more aid to laborers from regions hit hard by the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak when they return to work to help them overcome difficulties such as discrimination and ensure fair employment and the orderly resumption of production.
The requirement was raised by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislative body, on Friday, after some workers from Hubei, the province hit hardest by the outbreak, had difficulties finding jobs or were fired without reason at a time when many industries are gradually recovering.
The behavior of a few employers who refused to hire people from Hubei or fired them should be inspected and rectified in accordance with the law, said Guo Linmao, an official with the NPC Standing Committee’s Legislative Affairs Commission.
“Labor is a basic constitutional right of citizens, and the Chinese Labor Law is clear on guaranteeing fair employment and prohibiting job discrimination,” he said.
Guo also noted that the Chinese Employment Promotion Law upholds the importance of expanding employment in the country’s economic and social development, stipulating that governments at each level should ensure employment equality and expand job opportunities in various ways.
“People from Hubei, especially those from Wuhan, capital of the province, were tenacious and brave during the outbreak, with strict enforcement of the epidemic control rules and extremely great efforts in fighting the disease, so we need to provide more help for them when they return to work,” he said.
“Regional discrimination in recruitment damages laborers’ equal employment rights. It is neither legal nor beneficial in consolidating the results of epidemic control work and promoting economic development.”
Guo demanded that governments take timely action against employers refusing to hire workers from Hubei or firing them, urging human resources and social security departments at all levels to monitor whether the applicable laws are being enforced.
The authorities should deter and correct employers’ misconduct, he said, adding that employers who terminated contracts on the grounds of employees’ place of origin were in breach of the Chinese Labor Contract Law and should bear legal liability.
As the outbreak has been brought under control on the Chinese mainland, with more industries resuming production, there have been several instances of discrimination against people from Hubei reported.
Last week, Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan stressed the implementation of policies designed to facilitate the employment of college graduates in Hubei.
Sun, who is leading a central government group overseeing epidemic control work in the province, said more support should be given to graduates in need and discrimination against job hunters from hard-hit areas should be eliminated.
At the end of last month, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security pledged to combat bias against workers from Hubei, ordering employers not to include any discriminatory requirements in recruitment information.