Shanghai parents are expected to get more parental leave after the People’s Congress approves new family planning regulations in February, an official from the Shanghai health and family planning commission said yesterday.
“We are still taking advice from political advisers and the public to draft the new regulations,” said Fan Hua, director of the commission’s family development office.
“But it will not be shorter than the previous standards. And all mothers with their babies born after January 1 shall be able to enjoy the new policy.” Fan was speaking at the fourth session of the 12th Shanghai committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the city’s political advisory body.
Under the current rules, women younger than 24 years can enjoy 98 days of maternal leave, while older women get another 30 days of leave after they give birth for the first time, and their husbands are given three days’ leave.
When women give birth to their second children, the leave period is 98 days. Women giving birth via C-section get an additional 15 days’ leave.
But after the latest national family planning policy came into effect this month, extra leave for mothers and fathers is no longer granted because most women in China have their first babies when they are older than 24.
Lawmakers, political advisers and the public called for the local policy to be adjusted to extend parental leave.
“It’s time to increase parental leave when we are encouraging young couples to have more children to change the structure of the aging population,” said Li Rong, deputy chairwoman of the Shanghai Women’s Federation.
Many political advisers suggested that all new mothers be granted at least 128 days of leave to ensure that they make a proper recovery and are able to fully care for their infants, while the fathers should be given 20 to 30 days of leave. They also said the policy should apply to both first-time parents and those having their second child.
Meanwhile, some political advisers at the conference proposed that the government build more nurseries to take some of the pressure off working parents, and Shanghai Education Commission officials said they are planning to build new schools.