On December 27, 2015, the Standing Committee of the National
People's Congress issued the amended Population and Family
Planning Law ("Family Planning Law"). While the
Family Planning Law has drawn worldwide attention for its
implementation of the Chinese government's change to its
long-standing one-child policy, which now permits couples to have
two children, employers should be aware that statutory marriage,
maternity, and paternity leave entitlements have also been
affected, and greater local variations may apply.
The Family Planning Law removes the concept of late marriage and
late maternity and the corresponding additional national leave
entitlements. For late marriage, which was deemed to occur at or
above age 23 for women and 25 for men, there was an additional
leave entitlement of seven to 23 days depending on the locale. For
late maternity, which was deemed to occur if a woman was age 24 or
above at the time of delivery of her first child, there was an
additional leave entitlement of 30 days. In response to these
changes, many local governments have amended or are expected to
soon amend related local regulations.
In the case of marriage leave, most local governments have
simply cancelled corresponding regulations on late marriage leave,
so that couples are entitled only to the national three-day leave
entitlement. However, some have taken the opposite approach. In
Shanxi, for example, the government has maintained a 30-day
additional marriage leave period and applied it to all marriages,
not just late marriages. For couples that married before January 1,
2016, the common understanding is that they are still entitled to
the late marriage leave entitlement that would have applied prior
to the introduction of the Family Planning Law.
For maternity leave, the current national entitlement is 98
days. However, many local governments have replaced the late
maternity leave with an additional 30–60 days of local
maternity leave for all women. Some local governments have also
extended the paternity leave periods for men.
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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