Population and Family Planning Law – New regulations for more leave entitlement in China


published on 20 January 2022 | reading time approx. 3 minutes

by Christina Gigler


For some time now, China has been facing a decline of its birth rate as well as an aging population. As a result, the Chinese government is creating more incentives for families to have more children. One of the efforts has been the move from the two-child policy to the three-child policy, which is stated in the new Population and Family Planning Law of the People's Republic of China, in force since 20 August 2021.



Recently, local regulations of the new Population and Family Planning Act have been implemented in various cities/provinces, for example by granting more family planning-related leave days to employees.. There has also been progress in the areas of maternity leave, paternity leave, parental leave and nursing leave.


Extended Maternity Leave

In general, the nationwide statutory maternity leave amounts to 98 days. Even in the past, many local regulations have granted additional maternity leave to female employees giving birth in accordance with the law. In 2021, those additional maternity leave days were even extended in various locations.


In Beijing, the maternity leave has been extended from 128 (98 + 30) days to 158 (98 + 60) days, which is laid down 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), in force since 26 November 2021.  Also in Shanghai the maternity leave has been extended to 158 days.

In most locations in China the maternity leave currently is 158 days. However, in Guangdong, for example, it is 178 days, and in Hainan and Henan it is up to 190 days (98 + 3 months).


Paternity Leave

Also, in many locations fathers can also apply for paternity leave. For example in Beijing the paternity leave is 15 days. These paternity leave days have already been granted before the new regulation came in force. It is also specifically mentioned in the Regulation of Beijing Municipality on Population and Family Planning (Amended in 2021) that the allocation of extended maternity leave and paternity leave may be adjusted by both husband and wife with the consent of their respective employers, meaning that if the woman voluntarily reduces the extended maternity leave, the number of paternity leave enjoyed by the man may be increased accordingly.


In Shanghai, the paternity leave is ten days, while in Sichuan Province it is 20 days.


Parental Leave

Furthermore, since 2021 many locations grant parental leave to couples who give birth to a child in accordance with the law.


Beijing generally grants five working days of parental leave per year per parent until the child reaches the age of three. Each year shall be calculated based on the full age of the child (not based on the calendar year). With the consent of the employers where the couple works, the couple may adjust the allocation of parental leave, but the total parental leave shall not exceed ten working days.


In Shanghai, the parental leave is also five working days, whereas it is ten working days in Zhejiang Province and Guangdong Province.


Nursing Leave

Since 2021, some locations grant nursing leave to employees under certain circumstances.

In Beijing, if the parents of an only child need nursing care, the only child shall receive a total of no more than ten working days of nursing leave per year.


In most locations, local regulations do not clearly specify how to identify and prove the need for nursing. Based on the information given to us by the local CIIC (China International Intellectech Co., Ltd.) in Beijing, a diagnosis certificate issued by a medical institution, a hospitalisation certificate or the results of a disability assessment by the competent departments may be used as a basis for identifying such need. However, this may be handled differently in other locations.


In Tianjin, generally all employees are entitled to nursing leave, if one of the parents with an age over 60 years is in hospital, whereby one-child employees can enjoy nursing leave of up to 20 working days every year and employees, who are not the only child, can enjoy nursing leave of up to 10 working days every year.



Local regulations in China can vary regarding the granting of leave, both in terms of the number of leave days that can be taken and in terms of the respective requirements. It is therefore advisable to look closely at the local regulations, which have changed in many provinces in 2021. We therefore recommend to take this as an opportunity to check your own Employee Handbook and, if applicable, your existing employment contracts and revise or update them if necessary.


As local regulations are in most cases lacking in-depth specifications (e.g. "Can leave be carried over to the next year?"), it is advisable to stipulate detailed conditions in the Employee Handbook.  

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