China increases maternity leave to encourage births

Several regions in China have extended maternity leave by at least 30 days, in the latest effort to address record-low birth rates in the country.
By: | November 30, 2021

This comes as the government is relaxing its formerly strict family planning regulations by encouraging families to have a third child as the country’s workforce is rapidly ageing.

China’s two largest cities – Shanghai and Beijing – have increased the number of days for maternity leave to 158 – a bump up of 30 days. In Zhejiang province, mothers of a second or third child can now take a total of 188 days, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Under current labour laws, working mothers are entitled to 98 days of paid maternity leave.

The new developments have also raised the issue of paternity leave entitlement with some questioning why it remains unchanged at 15 days in Beijing. New fathers in the capital city can take extra paternity leave only by using their wives’ quota.

Similarly, paternity leave in Shanghai remains at 10 days and that in Zhejiang is 15 days. China relaxed its “one-child policy”, one of the world’s strictest family planning regulations, in 2016, allowing couples to have two children.

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Earlier this year, the rules were further relaxed to allow families to have three children. However, the changes have so far failed to achieve a baby boom as the cost of living rises, according to eNCA.