(Yicai Global) Oct. 12 -- Online travel platform Ctrip has launched a maternity benefit scheme for its senior managers and engineers, which will include up to CNY2 million (USD290,000) in maternity pay and a seven day leave for these employees to preserve their eggs for future pregnancy.
More than 50 Ctrip employees have contacted the human resources and welfare team to consult about the program since its inception in July, state-backed The Paper reported. Some three of them have signed related contracts for medical examination so far.
The first employee went through the IVF procedure in the US during the national Golden Week holiday that took place in the first week of October. The staff member has returned to China since then.
Ctrip is the first large Chinese tech firm that has come out with perks involving fertility treatments and market analysts say the reason is likely to be related to the company's co-founder and Executive Chairman Liang Jianzhang. Liang is also a professor of economics at Peking University and in his recent studies, he has focused on the impact of population on economic development and innovation.
"We would like to help our female employees in terms of their worries about raising families and having babies, so they can better enjoy their career development," the co-founder once said about the program.
The Shanghai-based firm's female employees can receive a sum from CNY100,000 (USD15,000) to CNY2 million in maternity pay while egg freezing has a subsidy ceiling of CNY100,000.
"The benefit is reserved for Chinese females (mainland Chinese only) who have established labor relations with Ctrip's mainland China branch as senior managers, senior engineers and above," a representative from the company said. "There are no restrictions on the employees' marital status nor age."
The travel firm, which employs over 37,000 people, is following the footsteps of world tech giants Facebook and Apple that have started providing benefits related to fertility treatments as early as in 2014 and 2015.
Over the Golden Week, the number of Chinese people visiting the US to preserve their eggs increased four-fold from last year, said Dr. Zhang Xin, the founder of IVF USA. "It is safe to say that China is the fastest growing market with the number of clients."
Editor: Emmi Laine