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Maternal Leave Extended in Thirty Provinces

Since the amended Population and Family Planning Law in January 2016 universally allowed married couples to have a second child, in September 2017 thirty provinces and regions required employers to extend paid maternity leave. In these areas, on top of the nationally mandated ninety-eight days, female employees are now entitled to an additional leave of one to three months. In more prosperous municipalities such as Beijing and Shanghai, as well as provinces like Zhejiang and Jiangsu, female employees are now given 128 days paid leave after the birth of a child. A number of provinces such as Hebei, Liaoning, Sichuan, and Shandong allowed female employees 158 days of paid maternity leave. While Henan and Hainan provinces saw the largest increase, from ninetyeight days to 190 days, the longest leave can be found in the Tibet Autonomous Region where female employees are now given one year of paid maternity leave. While this was good news for millions of female workers, Beijing News reported that many women still face difficulties in claiming this right, as many companies have adopted internal policies aimed at restricting the frequency and timing of pregnancies, and have imposed hefty financial penalties for violators. KL

(Sources: Beijing News (Chinese); Los Angeles Times; Shanghai Daily; SupChina)

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