China has been grappling with a declining birth rate and an aging population for some time now, prompting the government to offer more incentives to encourage families to have more children. One such initiative is the shift from the two-child policy to the three-child policy, which is outlined in the new Population and Family Planning Law of the People’s Republic of China, which came into effect on August 20, 2021.
Additionally, maternity leave has been extended in many regions of China. While the national statutory maternity leave is 98 days, many local regulations have provided extra maternity leave to women who give birth in accordance with the law. In 2021, some of these additional maternity leave days were extended in various locations.
For instance, in Beijing, maternity leave has been extended from 128 days (98 + 30) to 158 days (98 + 60), as stated in the Decision of the Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal People’s Congress on Amending the Regulations of Beijing Municipality on Population and Family Planning (2021), which came into effect on November 26, 2021. Shanghai has also extended maternity leave to 158 days.
Although the current maternity leave in most parts of China is 158 days, it can be as long as 178 days in Guangdong and up to 190 days (98 + 3 months) in Hainan and Henan.
Moreover, fathers in many areas can apply for paternity leave, with Beijing providing 15 days of paternity leave. The allocation of extended maternity leave and paternity leave can be adjusted by both parents with the consent of their respective employers, as noted in the Regulation of Beijing Municipality on Population and Family Planning (Amended in 2021). This means that if a woman chooses to shorten her extended maternity leave, the man can receive more paternity leave.
Since 2021, some locations in China provide parental nursing leave to employees in specific situations.
In Beijing, for instance, parents of an only child can receive up to ten working days of nursing leave per year if they require nursing care.
However, local regulations in most locations do not specify how to identify and prove the need for nursing. According to the China International Intellectech Co., Ltd. in Beijing, a diagnosis certificate issued by a medical institution, a hospitalization certificate, or the results of a disability assessment by the competent departments can be used as a basis for identifying such need. Nevertheless, this may vary in other locations.
In Tianjin, employees are entitled to nursing leave if one of their parents over 60 years of age is hospitalized. One-child employees can take up to 20 working days of nursing leave every year, while employees who are not only children can take up to 10 working days of nursing leave.
The granting of leave and the respective requirements may vary across China’s provinces, including the number of leave days that can be taken. Therefore, it is advisable to review local regulations, which have changed in many provinces in 2021. We recommend checking your Employee Handbook and employment contracts, if applicable, and revising or updating them accordingly.