Call for new fathers to get more paid leave

Local lawmakers urged to extend paternity leave to get fathers more involved in the family

Shanghai Women’s Federation is calling for fathers to be given an extra five days of paternity leave so they can be more involved in the family.

Currently, new fathers in Shanghai enjoy 10 days of paid leave, compared to the national average of almost 17.

Paternity leave varies across the nation. New fathers in Henan, Gansu and Yunnan provinces top the list at 30 days.

Beijing, along with other 18 cities and provinces, allows new fathers 15 days.

In a proposal to be submitted to the city’s lawmakers at next week’s “two sessions,” the federation suggests extending local fathers’ paternity leave to 15 days to "reflects father’s responsibility of child caring and help to reach work-life balance."

“Many wives complain they are regarded as the only child carer at home and feel their husbands are like a missing and invisible family member,” said Li Rong, vice chairman of the federation. “So, we have to get fathers more involved in childcaring and family issues.”

Another problem for mothers, according to the federation, is the lack of rooms in public spaces where they can change diapers or feed their babies.

Construction and sanitary standards should be drafted to ensure well-equipped, safe and clean mother-and-baby rooms, it said. 

The federation's proposal calls for online map providers to provide a search facility for mother-and-baby rooms and mark them on the map.

Last year, Fudan University interviewed more than 400  mothers of babies up the age of 2 and visited 52 public spaces from railway stations to shopping malls.

Its research showed that Metro train stations and parks rarely had mother-and-baby rooms, and only around 61 percent of shopping venues were equipped with the facilities.

About 60 percent of mothers said they couldn't find a room because of vague signs. And many of them, the percentage was not given, complained about their unsanitary condition.

“It is of vital importance during the city’s efforts to build a mother and children friendly city,” Li said.

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