Labour Leader - Shanghai and Beijing offer varied forms of extended leave for newlyweds and parents

Shanghai and Beijing amend local regulations to reflect changes in the national Family Planning Law in relation to marriage and maternity/paternity leave.

This article has been updated to reflect Shenzhen’s additional maternity leave for the first child that is a late birth.

At the start of the year the Population and Family Planning Law of the People’s Republic of China (the Family Planning Law) was amended (effective as of 1 January 2016) to encourage eligible couples to have a second child. The amended Family Planning Law also removed the special leave for a late marriage and special leave for a late childbirth. Given the changes to the legal framework at the national level, employers need to pay close attention to the local rules in the jurisdictions in which they are established in order to ensure that they provide accurate entitlements to their employees.

In late February 2016 Shanghai amended the local Population and Family Planning Regulations (the Shanghai Regulations) in line with the changes made to the Family Planning Law. In particular, the amended Shanghai Regulations, which came into effect on 1 March 2016, provide for an additional seven days’ marriage leave. This extends the total marriage leave entitlement to ten days, regardless of the age of the couple at their marriage. The amended Shanghai Regulations also extend the paternity leave entitlement from three to ten days. In addition, provided that the relevant legal requirements are complied with, an employee who gives birth will be entitled to an additional 30 days’ maternity leave, irrespective of whether the baby is the first or second child and the age of the child’s parents.

Following Shanghai and a few other provinces, on 24 March 2016 Beijing amended its local Population and Family Planning Regulations (the Beijing Regulations) so they are in line with the national law. Like Shanghai, the amended Beijing Regulations provide for an additional seven days’ marriage leave and thus extend the total marriage leave entitlement to ten days, regardless of the age of the couple at their marriage. Female employees who give birth in compliance with local regulations will receive an additional 30 days’ maternity leave, irrespective of whether the baby is the first or second child and the age of the newborn’s parents. Notably, the amended Beijing Regulations now grant fathers paternity leave of 15 days, eliminating the complicated and conditional leave that existed under the old regulations in Beijing, and in contrast to the 10-day entitlement in Shanghai. Further, the Beijing Regulations provide that, subject to the approval of the employer, a female employee can enjoy an additional leave of 1-3 months on top of her statutory maternity leave entitlement. The Beijing Regulations are silent on what level of pay the employee will be entitled to receive during this additional leave.  However, it is more likely than not that the authorities will require an employer to pay the regular base monthly salary to the female employee during this period of extended leave. How this provision will be implemented in practice is yet to be seen, particularly given the added cost this could create for employers.

The table below outlines the various leaves offered by 15 municipalities and provinces as of 30 March 2016, pursuant to the amendments to the national law.

Locations Marriage Leave Maternity Leave  Paternity Leave 

Beijing

3+7=10 days

98+30=128 days;
Subject to employer approval, additional 30-90 days

15 days

Shanghai

3+7=10 days

98+30=128 days

10 days

Guangdong (includes, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhuhai)

3 days

98+30=128 days

15 days

 Shenzhen

3 days

98+30=128 days; additional 15 days for the first child that is a late birth

15 days

Jiangsu (includes Suzhou)

3+7=10 days

98+30=128 days

15 days

Zhejiang

3 days

98+30=128 days

15 days

Tianjn

3 days

98+30=128 days

7 days

Sichuan

3 days

98+60=158 days

20 days 

Liaoning

3+7=10 days

98+60=158 days

15 days 

Shandong

3 days

98+60=158 days

7 days

Anhui

3 days

98+60=158 days

10 days;
20 days if the couple live in
different cities)

Jiangxi

3 days

98+60=158 days

15 days

Fujian

15 days

158 to 180 days

15 days

Guangxi

3 days

98+50=148 days

25 days

Hubei

3 days

98+30=128 days

15 days

Shanxi (山西)

30 days

98+60=158 days

15 days 

Now that the major locations have issued their local regulations, employers should update their handbooks and internal policies.  In doing so, employers will need to consider whether to harmonize benefits across multiple locations or simply follow the local, incongruent regulations when administering these benefits across their employee populations.

This document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document. Simmons & Simmons is registered in China as a foreign law firm. We are permitted by Chinese regulations to provide information on the impact of the Chinese legal environment and also to provide a range of other services. We are not admitted to practise in China and cannot, and do not purport to, provide Chinese legal services. We are, however, able to co-ordinate with local counsel to issue a formal legal opinion should this be required.