China: New Family Planning Legislation and Impact on Employers
China has relaxed its strict family planning policies in a 2016 legislation that revokes several population control measures including incentives for late marriages or late childbirth.
Here are some highlights of the new “two-child” policy:
In 2015, China’s base maternity leave was 98 days with “extra leave” incentives ranging from 15 days to 60 days (depending upon province) for couples who delayed childbirth beyond a certain age. Typically having a child after the age of 24 was considered “late childbirth” but it could vary by state. These clauses no longer exist under the new regulation.
Several outdated policies have been removed but will likely be replaced with benefits likes “extended maternity and paternity leave” on a local level.
National vs Provincial
China’s southern province Guangdong is the first in the country to revise its maternity leave rules under the “two-child policy” but other provincial governments are yet to provide any details.
China increased the maternity leave from the national baseline of 98 days to 128 days while paternity leave increased from 10 days to 15 days.
Guangdong sets a precedent for the other provinces to follow. Businesses with operations in China should track local changes to maternity leave and related laws.
Besides this, there are concerns about the “cross-over” period as the country transitions from the old to the new regulation. Shanghai has clarified that only those married before December 31 are eligible for benefits previously associated with late marriage or childbirth. Other provinces are likely to announce their rules as well.
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