What does China's three-child policy mean for your business?



China’s three-child policy officially came into force in May 2021. In support of the three-child policy, local governments have revised the existing population and family planning regulations to support childcare and a new push towards a stable environment for bigger families.


Among the measures rolled out by municipalities, on 25 November 2021, the Shanghai government announced that maternity leave would be extended from 30 to 60 days. Both parents will be entitled to five days of parental leave every year until their child turns three. Zhejiang province stipulates that if one of the parents has reached the age of 60, then the only child in a family can enjoy an additional five days of parental leave each year to take care of their parents, during which, salary, bonus, and other welfare benefits will be paid as usual.

Local companies and international corporates need to understand how these supportive measures could impact their business operations and thus plan ahead. It is foreseeable that the HR staff will spend more time and effort managing employees’ leave, primarily when the employees are located in different cities. When employees are on maternity leaves or parental leaves, the related business departments will face a workforce shortage, and the HR department may face more challenges in recruitment.

Hawksford’s HR and Payroll services team can provide a cloud-based integrated human capital management solution to assist companies with managing employees and taking on the burden of HR staff. We can help transform your employee’s payroll, attendance and benefits computation into a more efficient and accurate process.

For your reference, let us list out the frequently asked questions and answers regarding the newly revised Regulations on Population and Family Planning of Shanghai Municipality (hereinafter “Regulations”).


Regarding fertility


Q1. When was the three-child policy officially implemented?  

On 31 May 2021, the central government announced a new policy encouraging couples to have a third child. The three-child policy was officially implemented on the same day in Shanghai (31 May 2021).

Q2. How is the number of children in a couple calculated? 

It is calculated according to the number of children the couple has born together.

Q3. In case a couple is allowed to have three children, is this calculated by the number of children or the number of births? 

This is calculated by the number of children born.

Q4. Under what circumstances can a couple who already have three children have more children? 

According to the Regulations, if a couple has three children and one of their children is identified as having a non-hereditary disease by the district or municipal medical identification institution for sick and disabled children, they may request to have another child.  

Q5. If a couple has less than three children, do they need to go through the formalities of rebirth*?  

No, there is no requirement for this. 
*Rebirth means if a couple already has three children and wants more children. 

Q6. Do couples who are eligible to bear more children in accordance with the Regulations need to go through the formalities of rebirth*?  

Yes, they need to go through the formalities of rebirth according to the regulations. 


Regarding holiday

Q1. How many days is child-bearing leave? And how can it be used?

Among couples who give birth in accordance with laws and regulations, women can enjoy 60-day child-bearing leave, apart from the state-set maternity leave. Remuneration and benefits on child-bearing leave shall be the same as maternity leave. The 60-day child-bearing leave shall be generally used with the regular maternity leave consecutively and automatically postponed in case of public holidays. 

Note: The 98-day maternity leave stipulated by the central government is implemented to the whole country. Child-bearing leave, as specified by the local governments, varies from the provinces and cities (autonomous regions). 

Q2. How can couples who have given birth after 31 May 2021 (including 31 May) and before the introduction and implementation of the revised Regulations (25 November 2021) enjoy child-bearing leave? 

Among couples who gave birth in accordance with laws and regulations from 31 May to 25 November, if women have already enjoyed the 30-days child-bearing leave in accordance with the previous regulations, they may enjoy another 30-days child-bearing leave. If women have already received maternity subsidies during the original 30-days child-bearing leave period, they may also receive additional maternity subsidies during the additional 30-days child-bearing leave period. The medical insurance department will automatically reissue the subsidies to the previous bank account, and there is no need for individuals to apply again.  

Q3. How many days is parental leave? And how can it be used? 

According to the Regulations, couples who give birth in accordance with laws and regulations, each of them can enjoy five days of parental leave each year until their children reach the age of three. The same salary should be paid on paternal leave like that for normal attendance. In practice, parental leave is calculated based on the number of children born. Parental leave, in theory, should be used within a calendar year, either consecutively or individually. 

Q4. According to the Regulations, both parents will be entitled to five days of parental leave every year until their child reaches the age of three. Does the “year” refer to a calendar year or a rolling 12-month period? 

It refers to a rolling 12-month period. For example, if a child was born on 1 December 2021, each partner would have until 30 November 2022 to take five days of parental leave, and so on.  

Q5. On the implementation date (25 November 2021) of the revised Regulations, will parents of children under the age of three also be entitled to five days of parental leave each?  

Yes. Parental leave is available based on the actual age of the children. For example, if the child's actual age is over one year old and under two years old, both parents can enjoy annual parental leave of five days each, and so on.



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