Your employee is pregnant, now what do you do? What obligations do you, as an employer, have? When running a business in China it is important to know all the relevant regulations concerning your employees. Legislation concerning pregnant employees and parental leave is an important part of this. In China maternity leave legislation recently changed due to amedments to family planning laws. This article will familiarize you with the newest regulations, in order to keep up, and comply with them.
Chinese regulations concerning pregnant employees
Firstly it is important to know if a contract with a pregnant employee can be terminated. According to relevant laws, employers are forbidden from unilaterally terminating the agreement with the employee. The pregnant or nursing staff member can be fired if the employee and employer can reach a settlement agreement. Unilaterally firing a pregnant employee is only possible only under very specific circumstances. Most of these circumstances include the employee breaching the contract or committing some form of crime.
In case an employment contract ends while the employee is pregnant, the labour contract must be extended until the employee is done nursing. It is unclear if the contract can be terminated if the employee refuses to extend it. In case employer and employee cannot reach an agreement the case would need to be taken to court. The outcomes of subsequent court cases have been rather contradictory.
How much parental leave should my employee receive?
Your pregnant employee will stay under contract during her pregnancy and nursing period. In China maternity leave is paid, the employer is required by law to continue paying the employee.
The main law concerning this parental leave was amended last year. This law is the Population and Family Planning law. Its amendment made headlines worldwide because the new version of the law made an end to the One-Child Policy. However, the amendment not only changed the number of children parents can have, but also how much time they can spend with them. Benefits for late marriage and late childbearing were removed, and instead replaced with extra leave for all couples that bear children in compliance with the laws, no matter the age of the parents, or if it is their first or second child.
The new law determined that local governments now regulate the extent of parental leave. In every province in China maternity leave was extended with at least 30 extra days so that mothers everywhere are now entitled to at least 128 days. Not only maternity leave increased, the same goes for paternal leave, provisions for fathers now generally range between 7 days and one month.
China maternity leave by region
Here is a list of several regions and their regulations concerning parental leave.
- Shanghai: Maternal leave is 128 days. Paternal leave has increased from 3 to 10 days.
- Sichuan: Maternity leave increased from 98 days to 158 days. At the same time leave for fathers went from 15 days to 20 days.
- Chongqing: Chongqing’s government increased maternity leave to 128 days. Paternal leave was increased to 15 days.
- Hubei: Maternity leave in Hubei increased to 128 days. Fathers are now entitled to 15 days of leave.
- Shaanxi: The Shaanxi government increased maternity leave to 158 days. Paternity leave is now 15 days, or 20 days if father and mother do not reside in the same place.
In conclusion, it is important to know the national and local legislation concerning pregnant employees and parental leave. Pregnant employees can generally not be fired during their pregnancy, and their contract must be extended if it ends during this period. In China maternity leave is 128 days or more, fathers are also entitled to parental leave. The employer must pay the employee during their period of leave.
For employers it is important to review all the relevant laws and keep up to date with them. This way the employer can be well prepared. Some issues are not clearly specified or outlined in China’s laws. Therefore caution must be taken, as interpretations and applications of the law can differ.
For more insights on running a business in China, check out our other articles here. If you would like to know the regulations in your province, feel free to contact us.