China extends maternity leave to boost birth rate

China extends maternity leave to boost birth rate

MISE & Agrave; DAY

BEIJING | Several regions of China have decided to grant at least 30 days of additional maternity leave, in order to encourage births in a country facing an aging population and a decline in the number of working people.

< p> The authorities allow since this year all Chinese to have three children. They hope to revive the birth rate, which collapsed last year to its lowest level in more than 40 years.

The Beijing municipal government announced on Friday that women will now be able to take 158 days of maternity leave – 30 more than before.

Authorities in Shanghai, the country's most populous city (25 million people), have announced similar measures.

In coastal Zhejiang province, mothers of a second or third child will be granted 188 days of maternity leave, or more than 26 weeks, the official China New news agency said.

National legislation grants a minimum maternity leave of 98 days.

The subject was hotly discussed Friday on social networks. Globally welcomed, the initiative however aroused the reservations of some Internet users.

“The unemployment rate for women will be even higher” because companies could think twice before hiring them, thus estimated a user of the social network Weibo.

Other Internet users regretted that the length of paternity leave remained unchanged in Beijing (15 days), Shanghai (10) and in Zhejiang (15).

“Companies will favor men to the detriment of women”, judged a user of Weibo.

After more than three decades of a “one-child policy,” China relaxed its rules in 2016, allowing all Chinese people to have a second child and then a third this year. & Nbsp ;

But the authorities' incentives seem to have little effect on households, faced with rising costs of living, education and housing.

The rate The birth rate fell sharply last year, falling to 8.52 births per 1,000 inhabitants. This is the lowest figure since the publication of the Chinese Statistical Yearbook began in 1978.

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