Longer Maternity Leave for Second-Child Mothers, More Supports Still Wanted

(Xinhua News Agency, April 5, 2016. Complete text:) Beijing - A new policy on extended maternity leave in Liaoning Province came just at the right time for Ge Shengnan, who recently welcomed her second child into the world.

"It is a godsend that maternity leave has changed from three to five months," said Ge, 31, who lives in the provincial capital of Shenyang.

Policies extending maternity leave have come in the wake of changes to the family planning law last year, which now allows all couples to have a second child.

In Liaoning, besides the 98 days leave mandated by law, as of March 23, women employees can have an extra two months for both children. The previous regulation only gave extended leave to mothers pregnant with their first child.

Besides Liaoning, around 20 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities also amended their family planning regulations. Extending maternity leave from 128 days to one year, depending on the area.

Beijing announced on March 24 that maternity leave would be extended to 218 days, including the 98 days mandated leave and 30 days according to a local regulation. In addition, depending on employers’ ability to facilitate it, women can have an extra one to three months, too.

In Chongqing Municipality, as of April 1 besides the 128-day maternity leave, women may take up to one year’s additional leave if employers agree.

The revised policies also abandoned provisions encouraging later marriage and pregnancy, and adopted or prolonged paternity leave.

"My elder child is not yet two, so the 15 days paternity leave was a great help," said Ge.

Guo Zhigang, professor at Peking University, said, "It is important to create a favorable policy environment for couples of child-bearing age."

Wang Delin, vice chairman of the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Beijing Municipal ...

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