Late Marriage Leave Cancelled in the Amendment of the Population and Family Planning Law by the National People’s Congress(Mainland China)

James Cheng
On December 27, 2015, the National People’s Congress passed the amendment to the Population and Family Planning Law of the People’s Republic of China (the “Law”), with the universal two-child policy becoming effective on January 1, 2016. Meanwhile, the provisions on late marriage leave and extended marital leave are removed, although any extended maternity leave bonuses are still available to couples who raise children in compliance with the laws and regulations.
These amendments seek to revise the reward and safeguard measures that are not aligned with the universal two-child policy. For example, Article 18 is revised as: “[t]he state advocates that a couple shall raise two children.” In addition, since the average age of first marriage in China is currently around 25 with the first birth around 26, the amended Law no longer contains any requirement regarding late marriages and late child births, and Article 25 is amended as: “A couple who raises children in compliance with laws and regulations is eligible for extended maternal leave bonuses or other benefits.” This means that the provisions which previously rewarded couples who got married late and had only one child are now deleted. However, couples that raise one child or two children will be both eligible still be eligible for bonuses such as extended maternal leave. Per past practice, the local legislative authorities are authorized to set out the bonuses or benefits not expressly specified under the Law. Therefore, when an enterprise is amending its internal regulations and systems, attention should be paid to the regulations of local governments to ascertain if extended maternal leave or other benefits are provided before more specific requirements can be stipulated.