Amid the country’s declining birth rate, Chinese authorities have issued a guideline offering a series of policies for antenatal and postpartum support to promote balanced long-term population growth.
These measures include better maternal care services and public-benefit childcare services, better maternity and parental leave policies, according to guidelines released Tuesday by the National Health Commission.
The measure also includes preferential policies on housing and taxation and the promotion of fertility-friendly workplaces, reports Xinhua news agency.
In recent years, the number of people covered by maternity insurance in China has increased. In 2021, the number reached 240 million, 1.5 times compared to 2012.
Chinese state media said the newly released guideline said local governments could explore ways to expand coverage of maternity insurance to include workers in flexible employment.
The guideline also outlines other measures, such as creating fertility-friendly workplaces, encouraging flexible working practices, and protecting people’s legitimate labor and employment rights and interests.
In the seventh nationwide census of 2020, China’s population on mainland saw an average annual increase of 0.53 percent over the past decade.
China’s birth rate has declined since 2017, despite easing the ‘one child policy’ to avert an impending demographic crisis.
Last year, Beijing issued a new population and family planning law that allows Chinese couples to have up to three children, apparently responding to couples’ reluctance to have additional children due to rising costs.
The decision to allow a third child was implemented in 2020 after a once-a-decade census showed China’s population grew at the slowest rate in history, reaching 1.412 billion people.
China’s demographic issue is predicted to worsen as the number of people over the age of 60 rose 18.7 percent to 264 million, according to census data.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)