More Chinese workers to get extra holidays to look after sick parents

Northern province of Heilongjiang becomes sixth to introduce benefit as country seeks new ways to care for its greying population

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 October, 2017, 4:16pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 October, 2017, 9:03pm

Workers in the northern Chinese province of Heilongjiang will soon be entitled to take up to four weeks’ paid leave a year to care for their sick parents, according to state media.

The new rule is expected to come into play on January 1 and will apply to all employees regardless of the age of their parents, China News Service reported on Friday, citing a statement from the provincial government.

Workers who are only-children will be entitled to 20 days’ annual leave, while those with siblings will get just 10. The only proviso was that the parent or parents must have been admitted to hospital, the report said.

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Five other regional governments – Henan, Hubei, Fujian, Guangxi and Hainan – have already introduced similar regulations, although in some areas the leave entitlement applies only if the worker’s parents are over a certain age.

More local governments are expected to follow suit as the country seeks to improve the way in which it cares for its rapidly ageing population.

China ended its decades-long one-child policy at the beginning of last year in a bid to encourage families to have more children. However, judging the effectiveness of that move was made more difficult after the National Bureau of Statistics omitted a key data series on fertility rates from its latest yearbook, sparking speculation that it had not done as well as the government might have hoped.

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According to figures from the agency, 17.86 million babies were born in China last year, up from 16.55 million in 2015.

Workers in Heilongjiang whose employers denied them the new parental care leave entitlement should complain to their local civil affairs bureau, the report said.

Any companies found guilty of withholding the benefit would be punished, it said.