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New rule for elderly has good intentions

China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-14 07:17


Editor's note: Since single children of their families are finding it increasingly difficult to take care of their parents, some provincial-level governments have formulated a policy to grant employees "nursing leave" so that they can fulfill their filial duties. Four experts share their views on how to better deal with the challenges of aging society with China Daily. Excerpts follow:

Uniform standard for regulations needed

Diao Pengfei, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences / CHINA DAILY

One of the consequences of China's one-child policy, which was implemented in the late 1970s, is that a couple, if both are the only child, may have to take care of four aged parents. And some of those born in the 1980s and 1990s, may even have to take care of up to six elderly people-their two parents and four grandparents-which despite having the needed resources they cannot do owing to the pressure of work.

Now some local governments have formulated a policy to grant people "nursing leave" so that they can fulfill their parental duties. For example, a regulation passed by Henan province says, if a person's parents aged above 60 fall ill, the employer should grant him or her up to 20 days' paid leave per year to attend to his or her ailing parents.

And the Fujian provincial regulation says employers that do not grant their workers such a leave will be punished and barred from bidding for government projects, and denied market access as well as bank loans.

The problem is that there is no unified standard. The Henan regulation says people working in Henan are eligible for such a leave if their parents also live in the province while the Guangxi regulation states anyone working in the region can apply for the leave. There is a need to have a uniform standard for the regulations, although it is a welcome change to see local authorities are trying to address the problems of aging population.

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