No time to get married, have kids? Think twice!

Chen Xiaoli
Cities and provinces have rolled out support schemes to encourage marriage and incentivize couples to have more children.
Chen Xiaoli

A netizen's remark on marriage leave being too short for ceremony and honeymoon became a recent hit on social media.

According to latest data from the China Statistical Yearbook 2021, 8.14 million couples registered for marriage in China in 2020, the lowest since 2003.

Chinese authorities eased the family planning policy this year, allowing each couple to have three children to curb the decline in fertility levels. But the dropping marriage rate is making efforts all the more difficult.

Data shows the birthrate in China was 0.852 percent last year, falling below 1 percent for the first time since 1978.

He Yafu, a demographic expert, said many reasons caused the drop in the marriage rate, such as a decline in the number of young people, the unbalanced ratio of males to females and the high cost of living.

To respond to netizens' concerns, many places nationwide including Shanghai, Shanxi, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Anhui and Jiangxi have rolled out support schemes to further encourage marriage and incentivize more births.

The measures include extending marriage, maternity and paternity leaves and setting up childcare leave.

Shanghai will give an extra 30 days paid maternity leave to mothers. Both parents can also enjoy five days paid childcare leave per year until their child is 3 years old. The revised regulations take effect today.

Jiangxi will provide an extra 15 days of marriage leave, add 30 days of maternity leave and 15 days of paternity leave. Parents whose child is under 3 years old can enjoy 10 days of childcare leave each year. Guizhou and Sichuan follow the same childcare leave policy.

Heilongjiang in the northeast has set up a paid childcare leave which requires employers to give parents of infants under 3 years of age childcare leave for 10 days each year.

Jiangsu Province has made some adjustments to its maternity and paternity leaves. Mothers can extend their maternity leave for no less than 30 days, and fathers can enjoy paternity leave for no less than 15 days.

Shanxi allows more days for childcare leave, which is 15 days for parents whose child is under 3. Employers are required to pay a monthly childcare and education fee of no less than 200 yuan to such parents.

Anhui gives an extra 10 days of marriage leave to new couples. The province also provides a more relaxing childcare leave which enable parents to enjoy 10 days of leave each year until their child is 6 years old.

In Guangdong, when a third child is registered, the mother can enjoy 80 days of reward leave, and the father can enjoy 15 days of paternity leave.

In July, the National Healthcare Security Administration has announced that maternity insurance schemes will cover the cost of working women giving birth to their third child.

The NHSA has promised prompt and full reimbursement of the medical cost and subsidy when a working woman gives birth to her third child.

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