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


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.”


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Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.