More parental leave for Fujian workers from one-child families

A Chinese man holds up his child to watch a parade at a temple fair celebrating the Spring Festival at the Shijingshan Amusement Park in Beijing, China.
A Chinese man holds up his child to watch a parade at a temple fair celebrating the Spring Festival at the Shijingshan Amusement Park in Beijing, China.PHOTO: EPA

BEIJING • Starting next month, employers in Fujian province have to grant employees from one-child families an extra 10 days of paid parental leave.

According to the Regulations on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Elderly People, those from one-child families will be able to take an additional 10 days of paid leave to take care of parents over the age of 60 who are in the hospital.

Employers found in violation of the policy will face penalties from 2,000 yuan (S$410) to 20,000 yuan, reported Sixth Tone news website.

Ms Xu Hua, vice-chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Fujian Provincial People's Congress Standing Committee, said errant firms will be blacklisted and face restrictions in bidding, market access and obtaining financing.

The new legislation was passed by the province's top legislature on Jan 22 and is set go into effect on March 1, reported China Daily.

There were 5.15 million seniors aged 60 and above in Fujian province by the end of 2015, representing 13.4 per cent of the province's population.

For the whole country, the number of people aged 60 and above was 222 million, or more than 16 per cent of the population.

That figure is on track to hit 30 per cent by 2050.

Professor Gan Mantang, a sociology professor at Fuzhou University, called the paid parental leave scheme "innovative", but he added that it will be difficult to implement.

Some workers are not even paid now for taking their annual leave entitlements, let alone paid leave to take care of aged parents, he said.

He told China Daily that it probably can be put into practice in state-owned institutions, but it may not be so easy in private companies.

One netizen wrote on Weibo: "I'm afraid I will have a hard time finding a job after graduation as I'm the only child in the family."

Henan province passed similar regulations last year, the first of such local policies across China. It allowed single children to take 20 days' paid leave to care for aged parents.

China in late 2015 scrapped its one-child policy in efforts to grapple with a rapidly ageing society.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2017, with the headline 'More parental leave for Fujian workers from one-child families'. Print Edition | Subscribe