New boost for working moms

Chen Huizhi
Shanghai is to have more "Care for Mother Huts" this year with raised standards for rooms where new mothers can feed their babies in the workplace.
Chen Huizhi

More new mothers are to benefit from special rooms set up at workplaces where they can feed their babies. 

Shanghai General Trade Union, which has been funding “Care for Mother Huts” since 2013, said on Tuesday that 400 more breastfeeding rooms will be available this year, adding to the current 3,400.

It also said new standards for the rooms will make them more comfortable and versatile. 

Some 2,000 rooms in office buildings, shopping malls and parks have been given three- to five-star status but the star-rating standards are now being raised. 

Previously, a room with private space, ventilation, sockets, a desk and a chair would merit three stars, but now three-star rooms also require an air-conditioner, a refrigerator, disinfection appliances, an anti-slip floor and an air purifier.

Four-star rooms previously only needed an air-conditioner, refrigerator and disinfection or thermal appliances, but now they also need a water fountain, a soft sofa and a music player. There also has to be a sink on the same floor. 

Five-star rooms must now have a sink and baby changing tables, and massage and gym appliances are recommended.

Currently, 45 breastfeeding rooms reach five-star standard, the union said. 

As an incentive, the union said five-star rooms will be eligible to apply for the honorary awards it gives to exemplary working units and trade union workers.

While the project mostly covered state-owned companies and government organizations at the beginning, more women in private companies are now beginning to benefit.

The union said it offers 10,000 yuan (US$1,447) for “Care for Mother Huts” built between September 1 last year to August 31 this year, and the fund could be used to cover the purchase of sofas, air-conditioners, TV sets, music players, air purifiers, refrigerators, bottle sterilizers, UV disinfection machines, electric kettles and massage appliances, among other facilities.

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