A policy shift has been taking place in China: governments are
encouraging increased procreation by Chinese couples, and the
"One-Child Policy" is being replaced by incentives that
encourage citizens to marry earlier and have more children.
Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong have promulgated new local rules
along these lines, and other provinces and cities, such as Beijing,
are in the midst of finalizing their own rules.
Shanghai is the most recent to join this trend. The local
Regulation on Population and Family Planning has been amended
effective March 1, 2016 ("Amended Regulation") to offer
longer leave for qualified couples who marry and/or have a
Major changes in Shanghai include the following:
1. Greater Marriage and Maternity Leave Entitlements
Previously under the One-Child Policy (and for population
control purposes), the government encouraged late marriage and late
childbirth by providing longer marriage leave (additional 7 days;
10 days in total) and maternity leave (additional 30 days; 128 days
in total) to qualified couples/mothers who were older than a
specified age threshold. These thresholds were age 25 or older for
men and age 23 or older for women.
Under the Amended Regulation, all newly married couples are now
entitled to 10 days' marriage leave. In addition, all qualified
mothers will have an additional 30 days' maternity leave,
regardless of their age at childbirth. In other words, all mothers
in Shanghai are now entitled to a total of 128 days' maternity
2. Longer Paternity Leave for Fathers
Before the Amended Regulation, fathers were entitled to 3
days' paternity leave and only if the childbirth qualified as a
"late childbirth" (in most regions, the mother needed to
be at least 24 years old when giving birth to their first child).
Now all fathers in Shanghai will be entitled to 10 days'
paternity leave regardless of the mother's age at
3. Retroactive Effect to January 1, 2016
Although the Amended Regulation is effective March 1, 2016, an
officer from the Shanghai Government has clarified that couples in
Shanghai who have already registered their marriage or given birth
to a baby during the period from January 1, 2016 to February 29,
2016 may also enjoy the new "compensatory" marriage
leave, maternity leave or paternity leave benefits.
4. Recommendations for Employers
Employers in China should review their marriage and
maternity/paternity leave policies and practices, and keep up to
date with the changing regulations.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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