Chinese provinces extend marriage leaves

Move meant to encourage families to have more children amid declining birth rates

Chinese provinces extend marriage leaves

Young newlyweds in some Chinese provinces may now avail up to 30 days of paid leave as part of the government's latest measure to encourage families to have more children amid declining birth rates, according to reports.

The provinces of Gansu and Shanxi have begun offering 30 days of paid marriage leave to couples, while Shanghai has been providing 10, Reuters reported, citing the People's Daily Health.

This is a massive jump from the minimum of three days for paid marriage leave, according to the reports.

The expanded leave offerings come as China seeks to boost its birth rates after it recorded its lowest ever last year, with 6.77 births for every 1,000 people.

The Chinese population also fell by 850,000 to 1.4118 billion in 2022, the South China Morning Post reported.

Yang Haiyang, dean of the Social Development Research Institute of Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, told the People's Daily Health that extending marriage leave is "one of the effective ways of increasing the fertility rate."

Maternity leave also expanded

In other provinces, local governments are also expanding other leave entitlements to encourage couples to have more children.

Last year, Hunan began offering women an opportunity to request an extension of their maternity leave until their child is one year old, the SCMP reported.

In 2021, Beijing passed a regulation that expands maternity leave from 30 days to 60 days, on top of 98 days as stipulated in the national law, Xinhua reported.

As of January 2022, 25 Chinese provinces have begun offering additional maternity leave of up to 90 days to boost the country's birth rate and avert a population crisis, according to Xinhua.

China had a one-child policy in place from 1980 to 2015, before the country expanded it to two children starting 2016.

In 2021, the Chinese government began allowing couples to have up to three children after the decline in birth rates, BBC reported.

China also recently implemented a new law to protect women from gender discrimination at work, prohibiting employers from asking women about marriage and childbirth status.

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