Muscat: The falling birth rate in China has led to few provinces in the country to offer young newlyweds 30 days of paid leave in the hope of encouraging marriage and boosting a flagging birth rate.
According to a report in People's Daily Health on Tuesday, China's minimum paid marriage leave is three days, but provinces have been able to set their own more generous allowances since February.
The northwestern province of Gansu and the coal-producing province of Shanxi now give 30 days, while Shanghai gives 10 and Sichuan still only three.
"Extending marriage leave is one of the effective ways of increasing the fertility rate," Yang Haiyang, dean of the Social Development Research Institute of Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, was quoted by the newspaper.
"The extension of marriage leave is mainly in some provinces and cities with relatively slow economic development," he said, adding that there was an urgent need to both expand the labour force and stimulate consumption.
Yang said a host of other supporting policies were still needed, including housing subsidies and paid paternity leave for men.
China's population fell last year for the first time in six decades, according to official data - a turning-point that is expected to mark the start of a long period of decline.
Last year, China recorded its lowest ever birth rate, of 6.77 births per 1,000 people.
Much of the downturn is the result of a ‘one child’ policy imposed between 1980 and 2015.