Mothers in Beijing, Shanghai and Shandong province are expected to have more days off work after giving birth under the new national policy encouraging couples to have a second child.
The amount of additional leave ranges from 30 to 60 days as many provincial-level regions are soliciting opinions from the public and will implement new regulations this year.
The three regions followed Guangdong province, which was the first to overhaul maternity leave. From Jan 1, mothers giving birth in Guangdong will have 30 more days for maternity leave. Their husbands have five extra days compared with the original 10 to take care of their wives and babies.
On Friday, the Legal Affairs Office of Beijing released a draft amendment of the capital's population and family planning regulation to solicit public opinion. The draft cancels the seven-day marriage holiday for older couples, and expands maternity leave from 98 days to 128 days for the mother. The draft for the first time gives the father 15 days off.
However, Shandong is planning to increase maternity leave by 60 days, according to a draft by the Legal Affairs Office of Shandong. Fathers will be have seven days off.
According to the People's Congress of Shanghai, mothers will have 30 extra days off in addition to the current 98 days. Their spouses have three days off.
"There should be clear regulations on maternity leave, including details on how many days mothers can take. Otherwise, mothers will face possible discrimination in employment," said Zhai Zhenwu, professor of sociology and population studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing.
Also starting on Jan 1, newly married couples nationwide cannot get additional marriage holidays, as all have been deprived of privileges tied to late marriage, policies that gave extra days off for couples where the husband was older than 25 and the wife older than 23.