Reaction mixed to new paid leave rule

Updated: 2016-05-31 02:35

By Wang Xiaodong in Beijing and Qi Xin in Zhengzhou(China Daily)

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Henan province has adopted a policy allowing single children to take paid leave of up to 20 days a year to look after parents who are age 60 or older and hospitalized. Residents and experts alike hailed the move as a way to embrace the country's rapidly aging population.

Some, however, said enforcement of the regulation, which took effect on Friday, could be a problem and the policy might pose challenges for smaller companies.

Hua Huiping, a 53-year-old retired worker in Pingdingshan, Henan, who suffers from hypertension, said she is glad to hear of the regulation.

"My daughter is working in Zhengzhou and very busy," she said. "We know it would be difficult for her to ask for a leave from her company. I hope the policy will change that."

Wang Lili, a researcher at the China Research Center on Aging, said that with people living longer in China, the country's single-child generations will face heavier pressure, since such couples must simultaneously look after two pairs of parents and their own children.

"The policy is a good beginning and will play a positive role in promoting family-based elder care in Henan province and in China," she said.

"It may be very difficult to enforce the regulation without supporting measures, as many enterprises may not be willing to follow the regulation, considering the costs.

"The government can take some incentive measures to encourage enterprises to follow the regulation, such as a preferential tax policy," she said.

Huang Yuliang, chairman of the Zhengzhou Orchard Commune Animation Co, said he believed the additional paid leave could hurt smaller enterprises.

"It's good and a duty for people to care for their elders, but there's the rub — how can we find backup staffers if a department chief takes weeks off?"

China dropped its decadeslong one-child policy on Jan 1, encouraging all couples to have a second child.

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