Changes proposed for Shanghai's maternity, paternity leave policy

Ke Jiayun
A combined "childcare leave," shared by mothers and fathers and extended to half a year, could encourage more couples to have a second child, according to one legislator.
Ke Jiayun

Shanghai CPPCC member Weng Wenlei is calling for a merger of local maternity and paternity leave into "childcare leave," with its length extended to half a year, according to a speech delivered on Friday at the CPPCC Shanghai Committee's annual session.

The annual report on the social development of Shanghai released last year showed that in 2018, less than one-fourth of women living in Shanghai decided to have a second child. And only 6.7 percent of locally registered women delivered a second child.

As vice president of the Shanghai Women's Federation, Weng said research conducted by the federation last year finds that more than 66 percent of local women didn't want a second child because of the economic considerations.

Nearly 44 percent of respondents said they gave up the idea of giving birth to a second child because they didn't have the ability to take good care of two children.

And among those who had a second child, they still worried about the possible loss of wages and promotion opportunities at work due to maternity leave and time spent on raising children.

Lack of fathers' participation in child raising was also a big consideration.

Weng believes it's necessary to support family care through policies and public services at a time when the nation is promoting the birth rate.

In her speech, she said the 128-day maternity leave for local women and 10-day paternity leave for their partners can be combined into "childcare leave" and shared by the couple. Its length should be extended to 182 days, half a year, and fathers should be encouraged to take care of their children over 30 days of leave.

Weng also urged the city to continue its exploration of community-based children nursing. "I suggest integrating resources and enhancing the supply of nursing services for children under 3 in communities," Weng said.

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