On December 27, 2015, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress issued the amended Population and Family Planning Law("Family Planning Law"). While the Family Planning Law has drawn worldwide attention for its implementation of the Chinese government's change to its long-standing one-child policy, which now permits couples to have two children, employers should be aware that statutory marriage, maternity, and paternity leave entitlements have also been affected, and greater local variations may apply.
The Family Planning Law removes the concept of late marriage and late maternity and the corresponding additional national leave entitlements. For late marriage, which was deemed to occur at or above age 23 for women and 25 for men, there was an additional leave entitlement of seven to 23 days depending on the locale. For late maternity, which was deemed to occur if a woman was age 24 or above at the time of delivery of her first child, there was an additional leave entitlement of 30 days. In response to these changes, many local governments have amended or are expected to soon amend related local regulations.
In the case of marriage leave, most local governments have simply cancelled corresponding regulations on late marriage leave, so that couples are entitled only to the national three-day leave entitlement. However, some have taken the opposite approach. In Shanxi, for example, the government has maintained a 30-day additional marriage leave period and applied it to all marriages, not just late marriages. For couples that married before January 1, 2016, the common understanding is that they are still entitled to the late marriage leave entitlement that would have applied prior to the introduction of the Family Planning Law.
For maternity leave, the current national entitlement is 98 days. However, many local governments have replaced the late maternity leave with an additional 30–60 days of local maternity leave for all women. Some local governments have also extended the paternity leave periods for men.