Paid leave urged to help workers care for parents

2020-05-29 09:31:21China Daily Editor : Gu Liping ECNS App Download
Special: 2020 Two Sessions
An elderly woman dining at a nursing home in Hangzhou. [Sun Yidou/for China Daily]
An elderly woman dining at a nursing home in Hangzhou. [Sun Yidou/for China Daily]

Political advisers and legislators have called for full enforcement of policies offering children from single-child families paid leave to take care of their parents as caring for seniors increasingly becomes a challenge for such families.

In a proposal submitted to this year's political consultative session, Cao Hui, a member of the National Committee of the China People's Political Consultative Conference and vice-chairman of Fuyao Group, highlighted the need to refine the legal support mechanism for paid leave to children from single-child families.

Gao Li, a deputy to the National People's Congress from Anhui province, also suggested to the NPC that the top legislature should consider offering such special paid leave during future lawmaking procedures.

So far, local authorities in at least 15 provincial areas and Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, have unveiled policies allowing workers from single-child families to take care of sick parents.

China started to relax its family planning policy in 2014, when couples were allowed a second child if one parent was an only child. The country's top leadership adopted a universal two-child policy in October 2015.

Meanwhile, the country is faced with mounting challenges of an aging society, as 18.1 percent of China's population was aged 60 and above by the end of 2019.

"However, the lack of support from national legislation and enforcement mechanisms has made the implementation of such policies very difficult," Cao said.

Cao proposed that half the salaries of those enjoying such paid leave should be provided by their employers, with the other half covered by government pension funds.

In doing so, parents can obtain considerate medical care, which will help fill the gap in the number of aged care providers, he said.

Cao proposed that pilot policies be introduced for employees of government bodies and public institutions, a step needed to accumulate more experience for the enforcement of the policies.

The pilot projects will pave the way for future legislation that offers all children paid leave to take care of their parents, he said.

Gao, the NPC deputy, underlined the role of children in caring for the elderly.

"For many elderly people, especially for those with only one child, the companionship from their children means more than anything," she said.

The government can offer businesses tax relief to ensure the implementation of the policy, as the paid leave will affect their revenues, Gao said.

She also called for measures to improve the subsidies to one-child parents in their advanced years and to offer assistance to disabled and widowed one-child parents.


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