Millions of mainland migrant workers will soon be entitled to free contraceptives, but the penalties for those having an extra child illegally will be based on what migrants earn in the cities, according to a revised family planning regulation released yesterday by the State Council. The guideline that possibly grabbed the most attention was the one stating that fines levied on migrant workers who violated the one-child policy would be assessed based on the earnings standard of the place they lived in rather than their hometowns. The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council had issued a similar document last June that said migrants who gave birth to an extra child would be fined according to the standards imposed by either their hometowns or where they currently live. The new guideline eliminates any reference to the hometown standard, leaving the place of residence as the only applicable one. The migrant population is widely regarded as the mainland's child-bearing guerillas. Most of them move from their hometowns, where they hold their household registrations, to more affluent urban locations, seeking better jobs and having more children than the policies allowed. Basing the fine for breaking the family planning rule in the city where they are living in would result in a higher penality and therefore serves as a better deterrent. On the other hand, migrant workers who comply with the new rule would be entitled to a string of new benefits including free contraceptives from health agencies, the revised guidelines said. Those who gave birth to their children at a relatively older age or spontaneously undergo sterilisation will be rewarded with several days' holiday by the local administration. They will also enjoy preferential treatment, such as materials with information about population and family planning laws and procreation health, and support in running their own businesses and receiving social relief. The new guideline, due to take effect on October 1, was approved at the State Council's executive meeting in Beijing and endorsed by Premier Wen Jiabao on April 29. But it was only published yesterday on the website of the central government, without any explanation for the delay. According to the latest statistics released by the National Population and Family Planning Commission, the country's total migrant population has exceeded 150 million, more than 70 per cent of whom are of child-bearing age. The mainland has been strictly enforcing the one-child policy since the late 1970s, compelling women who already have a child to undergo pregnancy tests and, if testing positive, have abortions. More than 300 million more babies would have been born had the policy not been implemented, it has been reported. Some 90 million children have no brothers or sisters. The mainland's population - now at 1.3 billion - would keep growing at a rate of 8 million to 10 million a year, pressing up to 1.5 billion to 1.6 billion, the most it can support, according to an article in the official Outlook Weekly.