Chinese lobby group calls on shared parental leave

Making it compulsory to use at least a third of shared parental leave will force fathers to be more involved in childcare, says the Shanghai Women’s Federation.
By: | February 22, 2021

As China is experiencing a decline in the country’s birth rate, the Shanghai Women’s Federation (SWF) has called on the city’s legislative body to make it compulsory for new fathers to take parental leave.

The SWF wants both parents to share parental leave, and make it mandatory for fathers to use at least a third of it, it said on social media platform WeChat, according to South China Morning Post. This will be on top of China’s existing 128 days of maternity leave and 10 days of paternity leave regulation. 

The proposal is aimed at boosting gender equality, encouraging women to have children as it would force fathers to be more involved in childcare, said SWF deputy chairwoman Weng Wenlei.

“We hope that families would be encouraged by the public policies [to have children], without adding burdens to employers or worsening childbirth-related discrimination faced by women,” Weng told Xinhua news agency.

READ: Australian MP calls on six months parental leave for fathers

Despite China ending its one-child policy in 2015, the country’s birth rate has continued to decline in recent years. 

Over the course of January this year, some Chinese provinces and cities have disclosed their birth data through government and state media reports, showing birth rates falling by over 30% year-on-year in some cases.