Will longer maternity leave harm women’s career prospects in China? – China’s latest society and culture news

Society & Culture

A summary of the top news in Chinese society and culture for July 10, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

The Beijing News reported (in Chinese) that since the relaxation of the one-child policy on January 1, 2016, a total of 30 provincial regions have required employers to extend maternity leave. Beijing and Shanghai now give female employees 128 days off after giving birth, while Henan and Hainan provinces have increased the leave to 190 days. The longest is in the Tibet Autonomous Region, which mandates one year of paid maternity leave and 30 days of paid paternity leave.  

According to the Special Provisions on Labor Protection of Female Employees issued by China’s State Council in 2012, female employees are entitled to 98 days of paid maternity leave after childbirth. In 2016, the amended Law on Population and Family Planning required all employers to offer female workers up to three months of additional maternity leave beyond the 98 days.

However, on the social media platform Weibo, most commenters said that the prolonged maternity leave was bad news for working women in China. The most upvoted comment reads (in Chinese), “It will be more difficult for women to get employed.” One commenter wrote,  “I am a 26-year-old woman. I was often asked if I have a boyfriend and if I am planning to get married in the near future during interviews with employers.”