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Baby boom a worry for Chinese firms

According to a survey, women in China prefer to have babies during this Golden Pig year to make them honest, lucky and hard working.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Beijing
UPDATED ON MAR 15, 2007 01:14 AM IST

"There are six people in this section, and two are pregnant and expecting to give birth in July," said Zhang Jin, a Human Resources Manager of a Beijing website company as he scratched his head. "And summer is always our busiest time of year."

According to an AC Neilson report, more Chinese people tied the knot in 2006 than in any other year over the last two decades. A baby boom in this Year of the Golden Pig is sure to follow.

Another survey by the website China Talent shows that 66 percent Chinese companies are not prepared for the sudden loss of employees.

The web survey said that more than half the women of child-bearing age said that they prefer to have a baby this year, as Chinese astrology says people born during the year of the pig are polite, honest, hardworking, loyal and lucky.

"According to Chinese law, a new mother is entitled to at least 90 days maternity leave, plus hospital visits before the birth, breast-feeding leave and other days off. A new mother may be away from her job for more than half a year off, which will put our company under great pressure," Zhang Jin said.

Around 43 percent of human resource managers' survey said the baby boom would be their biggest challenge this year. To make matter worse, about 10 percent of new mothers say they have considered quitting their jobs after giving birth.

Zhu Weiwei, a manager with a public relations company in Beijing, said that most companies worked out this year's plans late last year . "Now suddenly so many staff have told me they are going to have babies at the same time. I'm totally unprepared."

"I don't think other people will be taking vacations this year," she said.

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