New mothers in some parts of China will get an additional paid month off, while new fathers in other regions will see paid parental leave extended by five to 20 days.
China's birth rate was 0.852% in 2020, falling below 1% for the first time since 1978.
Now, many of China’s provinces and other regions are revising family planning rules in an effort to promote parenthood. Incentive policies, including extended maternity and paternity leave, are in the pipeline.
Paid leave policy is made at the provincial level in China. National standards require 98 days, but most provinces offer more, typically from 128 days to 158 days.
By Nov. 26, 2021, according to Sixth Tone’s sister publication the Paper, 21 provincial-level regions have voted to adopt new regulations or put forward relevant drafts. Among them, five have extended paid maternity leave and four have extended paid paternity leave.
Some provinces provide extended maternity or nursing leave for couples who live in different locations, or the birth of a second or third child, as well as days off for pregnancy tests. Several provinces now allow new mothers up to six months of maternity leave for their second and third child.
However, even with the extension of leave in some regions, China's maternity and paternity leave remains at a relatively low level among the world's major economies.
In 2019, the global average for paid maternity leave was 29 weeks and for paid paternity leave was 16 weeks, according to the WORLD Policy Analysis Center at the University of California.
Editor: David Cohen.
(Header image: People Visual, reedited by Sixth Tone)