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Capital encourages bigger families

By DU JUAN | China Daily | Updated: 2021-08-06 09:01
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Beijing has begun offering incentives to encourage young couples to have more children after changes to family planning policies in June allowed all couples to have a third child.

In addition to the extra 30 days of maternity leave that mothers in the city with a third child were awarded from the end of May, the Beijing Municipal Health Commission said on Thursday that they can also enjoy a further one to three months of additional leave if their workplace agrees, and their spouses will be eligible for 15 days of paternity leave.

Mothers in Beijing were already entitled to three to four months of maternity leave as the basic standard, depending on the difficulty of delivery and other conditions.

The commission said the city government will accelerate the amendment of population planning regulations to offer more services or convenience to mothers with three children.

"Even though I don't plan to have more kids, it's good to know that women are being given more care and attention," said 35-year-old Li Lifen, the mother of a 5-year-old girl.

Hu Jun, the mother of two boys-one aged 4 and the other 6-said she cares more about baby care services than maternity leave.

"It's always a headache for young parents who both work to take care of babies," she said. "We cannot always count on our elders to take care of the kids."

China has allowed all couples to have a third child since June in response to the nation's flagging fertility rates.

Authorities are now following up with measures designed to encourage young couples to have more children.

The Panzhihua city government in Sichuan province announced on July 28 that it would offer subsidies to families that have a second or third child, becoming the first city government in the country to introduce such incentives.

Families will receive 500 yuan ($78) a month for each second or third child until the child turns three.

Panzhihua's resident population was more than 1.2 million last year, but that was down by 1,900 from 2010, city government data showed.

Luo Lisheng, a senior official from the Jiangxi Provincial Health Commission, said on Tuesday that the province will provide education support, housing benefits and tax breaks to couples who have more children.

The incentives announced by Beijing this week make the capital the third place in the country to announce measures to encourage bigger families.

Beijing's total population reached 21.89 million last year after growing by an annual average of 1.1 percent for a decade-more slowly than in the decade to 2010.

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