Maternity Leave Policy and More Benefits for New Moms in China

Maternity Leave in China

This one goes out to all of the hard-working mothers in China! Let’s take a look at general maternity leave and some of the other relevant benefits for working moms across China. 

For those curious about the dads, we have a companion post on Paternity Leave in China. Some other related benefits you may want to learn about are Marriage Leave in ChinaChildcare and Elderly Care Work Leave in China.

Maternity Leave in China (产假)

China mandates paid maternity leave for employees on a national level. As of 2023, the national policy is 98 calendar days: 15 days before the birth and 83 days after the birth.

National-level Maternity Leave Policy

According to a 2023 report from INLPR (the International Network on Leave Policies and Research), maternity leave policy is as follows:

National Policy: 98 calendar days, including 15 days before the birth and 83 days after the birth.

Maternity leave is NOT obligatory, and mothers can choose to take less time off according to their situation.

A 2021 survey on the implementation of maternity leave across China showed that about four-fifths of female employees take the full amount of maternity leave.

Province and City-level Maternity Leave Policies

So the national level policy is a non-negotiable across China: 98 days, 100% paid, funded (mostly) via state insurance.

Provinces and Cities in China can and do choose to refine their maternity leave policies to build on this. Here are some of these policies across the country:

Jiangsu Province: Maternity leave extended from 98 days to 128 days.

Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhejiang, Hebei, Hubei, Guangxi, Fujian, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Anhui, Shandong, Hunan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Ningxia, Shaanxi, and Xinjiang: Maternity leave extended from 98 days to 158 days.

Guangdong and Chongqing: Maternity leave extended from 98 days to 178 days.

Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Gansu: Maternity leave extended from 98 days to 180 days. 

Henan, Jiangxi, Hannan, and Qinghai: Maternity leave extended from 98 days to 188 days. 

Tibet: Maternity leave extended from 98 days to up to 1 year! 

Chinese Mother on Maternity Leave
Not to worry, new mom - you've got (at least) 98 days of paid leave coming your way!

Maternity Leave with Second and Third Children in China

Many provinces and cities have specific extensions for the (super) moms giving birth to multiple children.

In Hebei, Inner Mongolia, and Zhejiang, for example, 30 days can be added to leave if the mother has two or more children. A full 6 months can be added if a mother in Shaanxi province has three children.

Is Maternity Leave Paid in China?

Yes! Paternity leave mandated by both national and provincial-level governments (listed above) is to be paid at 100% of salary.

Payment for maternity leave is funded by the Maternity Insurance Fund for employees included in national-level insurance. Employers should note that if they are not paying into national insurance on behalf of the employed new mother, they are on the hook to pay the full benefit amount for the entire maternity leave time. [INLPR]

Further Maternity Benefits in First-Tier Cities Shanghai and Beijing

In Shanghai, female employees:

  1. Who are 28+ weeks pregnant receive an extra 1 hour break per day (paid at 80% of their earnings) and can not be scheduled night shifts.
  2. Can take a ‘fetus protection leave.’
  3. Can take a two-and-a-half month’s break before giving birth to a child (paid at 80% of their earnings).

In Beijing, female employees:

  1. Can adjust the allocation of extended maternity leave with the father, and consent of employers. So, for example, a mother can voluntarily reduce her maternity leave and give the amount to the father as government-paid paternity leave.
  2. Who are 7+ months pregnant, receive extra rest time during working hours, and can not be scheduled for night shifts from 22:00 to 6:00.
Beijing Mother on Maternity Leave
Mom and Babe relaxing in the Hutongs, enjoying their childcare leave perk

Further Maternity Leave Benefits

Multiple Births (twins, triplets, etc): Mothers who have multiple births are entitled to an additional 15 days of leave for each additional birth.

Obstructed Labor: Mothers who suffer from dystocia are offered an additional 15 days of leave.

Pre-Natal Complications: A miscarriage in the first 4 months of pregnancy entitles 15 days of maternity leave; one after 4 months of pregnancy entitles 42 days of maternity leave.

Post-Natal Complications: Female employees who still cannot work after maternity leave, due to physical problems or other difficulties, can (with the approval of their work units) obtain additional leave in most locations.

Maternity Leave Twins Film
"Our mom got an extra 15 days of maternity leave!"

Maternity Breastfeeding Benefits for New Mothers in China

China also has a national-level policy around breastfeeding.

During the period of breastfeeding (including bottle-feeding) for infants under one year of age, employers must:

  1. Not extend mothers’ working hours or arrange night shifts for them.
  2. Arrange at least one paid hour of breastfeeding time during the working day. Mothers who have had multiple births (twins+) are entitled to another paid hour of breastfeeding time per day.


In some provinces, additional breastfeeding leave can be applied for after the end of Maternity leave:

Shaanxi: If employers cannot guarantee breastfeeding time and provide breastfeeding conditions, 3-6 months of paid breastfeeding leave can be granted. This sounds like a great way to signal how important the Shaanxi government takes the topic.

Hainan: After Maternity leave, employers are given incentives to agree to breastfeeding leave until a child’s first birthday, paid at no less than 75% wage.

Guangxi: Mothers who have difficulty with caretaking after the Maternity leave ends can be granted six to twelve months of breastfeeding leave, paid at 80% of earnings.

The History of Maternity Leave in China

1951: The Labour Insurance Regulations of the People’s Republic of China stipulated that female employees must be given a total of 56 days of maternity leave at full wages.

1988: Labour Protection for Women Staff Members and Workers extended the length of Maternity leave from 56 days to 90 days.

1995: The Labour Law of the People’s Republic of China was formally enacted. The law stated that female staff must receive no less than 90 days of Maternity leave after the day of delivery, and legally guaranteed women the right to take Maternity leave.

2012: Important addendum to the Labor Law adds many of the more detailed benefits listed above.

Shanghai Mother on Maternity Leave
Mom and Babe stroll Nanjing East, soaking in the great maternity leave rays!

Annual Parental Leave in China

Another Benefit for New Working Mothers (and Fathers Too!)

Parental leave in China is a relatively recent benefit

In 2019, a government entity related to Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Development of Infant Care Services under 3 years old, encouraged all provinces of China to explore parental leave.

In 2021, parental leave was officially added to The Population and Family Planning Law of the People’s Republic of China.

Parental leave is provided in China, and ranges from 5 days (in places like Beijing and Shanghai) to 30 days (in Shaanxi province). A majority of provinces provide 10 days of parental leave. Here are some exceptions:

5 days: Beijing, Shanghai.

15 days: Shanxi, Gansu, Qinghai.

30 days: Shaanxi.

Only Promoted (no set government policy): Jilin, Jiangsu.


Mother on Parental Leave in China
Parental Leave is important - your colleagues have you covered, new mom!

When is Parental Leave Taken in China?

Parental leave is taken after maternity and paternity leave. It is generally provided annually for the first several years of the child’s life (following the child’s birthday as a calendar).

Here’s an example of the policy laid out in Beijing (from 

For every full year of a child’s life, either of his/her parents shall be entitled to a parental leave of five business days until he/she has reached three years of age.

In the event that an employee fails to take his/her annual parental leave, the parental leave will not be carried over to the next year.

For instance, if a child is born on June 1, 2021, either of his/her parents shall be entitled to a parental leave of 5 business days in each of the following periods: June 1, 2021-May 31, 2022, June 1, 2022-May 31, 2023, and June 1, 2023-May 31, 2024.


Is Parental Leave Paid in China?

Yes. Parental leave mandated by provincial-level governments (listed above) is paid at 100% of salary.

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