Gradually reduce the cost of childbirth, upbringing, and education——

To create a fertility-friendly society, actions are being taken everywhere

  Our reporter Peng Xunwen

  "People's Daily Overseas Edition" (Version 05, February 6, 2023)

  Incorporate the optimization of childbirth policy and supporting measures into the government work report or into the people's livelihood, improve the maternity leave system, distribute maternity allowances and childcare subsidies, strengthen housing security support, and improve childcare security policies... Recently, various places have successively promoted A series of active fertility support measures have attracted social attention.

  Population development is "the biggest thing in a country", and the birth policy is related to the harmony and happiness of thousands of families.

The report of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China proposed to optimize the population development strategy, establish a fertility support policy system, and reduce the cost of childbirth, childcare, and education.

The interviewed experts believe that the improvement and implementation of active fertility support measures in various places is in line with economic and social development and the expectations of the people, and the effect is gradually showing.

We should continue to coordinate and promote a "package" of policies covering marriage and love, childbirth, care, education, housing, etc., to form institutional synergy and create a childbirth-friendly society.

Explore various forms of subsidies to reduce the burden on families raising children

  "Now our family can receive a childcare subsidy of 500 yuan per month, and we basically don't have to pay for diapers ourselves." Mr. Yang, a resident of Donghua Street, Panzhihua City, Sichuan Province, has two children. The second child is one and a half years old this year.

He said that the second child needs about 455 yuan for diapers, 315 yuan for milk powder, and about 250 yuan for toys and clothes every month. The total monthly cost is about 1,000 yuan, and the subsidy can cover half of the childcare expenses.

  Mr. Yang is one of the first batch of people in the country to apply for childcare subsidies.

Starting from 2021, Panzhihua City will be the first in the country to introduce a childcare subsidy policy for families with household registration in the city who have two children and above, with 500 yuan per child per month until the child is 3 years old.

The local area has also formulated and implemented the "Eight Measures to Create a Resounding Business Card of a City with a Friendly Fertility Environment", and established a reproductive service guarantee system covering pregnancy, childbirth, raising, childcare, and housing.

  How effective are these policies?

According to previous news released by the Panzhihua Municipal Government, comparing the data of the year before the policy was implemented, from July 2021 to June 2022, the birth of the second child in the local area increased by 5.58%, and the birth of the third child increased by 168.4%.

Driven by national policy encouragement, local maternity subsidies and service guarantee policies, people's enthusiasm for childbearing has indeed increased to a certain extent.

Mr. Yang said that more than a year after the introduction of the policy, many colleagues who intend to have a second child became pregnant and gave birth one after another.

He also admitted that he has no intention of having a third child in the near future.

  In addition to Panzhihua, many places have recently introduced policies to encourage childbirth through cash subsidies and other forms.

In January this year, the Shenzhen Municipal Health and Health Commission of Guangdong Province solicited opinions on the "Shenzhen Child-rearing Subsidy Management Measures", and initially proposed to distribute child-rearing subsidies to citizens in a differentiated and progressive manner. One-child families can receive a total of 7,500 yuan, and two-child families can receive a total You can receive 11,000 yuan, and a family with three children can receive 19,000 yuan in total.

Jinan City, Shandong Province issued the "Jinan City Optimizing Childbirth Policy to Promote Long-term Balanced Population Development Implementation Plan" issued in January this year, proposing that for families with two or three children born after January 1, 2023 in this city, 600 yuan per child will be paid per month Childcare subsidy, among them, the subsistence allowance, extremely poor supporters and childbearing women receiving unemployment insurance benefits will receive an additional 200 yuan of childcare living subsidy every month until the child is 3 years old.

  Many places have actively explored the form of subsidies to reduce the burden of childbearing, raising, and education for families with multiple children.

For example, Jilin provides a maximum of 200,000 yuan in marriage and childbearing consumption loans for families of childbearing age, and offers different degrees of interest rate reduction discounts for the first, second, and third children.

Jiangsu subsidizes the social insurance fees paid by female employees of enterprises during their maternity leave, 50% of the subsidy for the second child, and 80% of the subsidy for the third child.

  "Maternity allowances and childcare subsidies are an important policy introduced by various regions based on their own economic development status, financial status, population status and other factors." Yang Ge, an associate researcher at the Institute of Population and Labor Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that low-income groups are more interested in cash subsidies. Policies are more sensitive, and middle- and high-income groups are more concerned about the "tax reduction red envelope" such as the special additional deduction of personal income tax for infant care service fees implemented by the state.

These measures come in various forms, effectively reducing the financial burden of child-rearing families, and also mean that childbearing has moved from the field of family affairs to the field of public affairs, releasing a positive signal for building a childbearing-friendly society.

Optimize policy guarantees such as maternity leave, housing, and inclusive childcare, and implement the good policies of "landing with warmth" in detail

  In June 2021, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council issued the "Decision on Optimizing Childbirth Policies to Promote Long-term Balanced Population Development"; in August 2022, 17 departments including the National Health Commission and the National Development and Reform Guiding Opinions on Fertility Support Measures"... In recent years, the central government has continuously optimized the fertility policy and launched a series of fertility support measures.

In order to implement these good policies of "landing with warmth", most provinces have completed the revision of population and family planning regulations, and many provinces have issued specific implementation plans.

  Unattended infants and young children are an important factor affecting fertility.

Overseas experience shows that letting social institutions assume part of the responsibility for raising infants and young children has a significant positive effect on increasing the fertility rate.

  At 8:30 in the morning, in the Industrial Technology Research and Innovation Park of Jiangbei New District, Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, 31-year-old Ms. Chen parked her car and took her daughter who was under 1 year old to the Fuyuan Nursing Center in an office building.

"Thanks to the childcare center, I can bring my daughter to work and come pick me up after get off work." Ms. Chen said that she and her husband both have to go to work, and their parents are not around. Hiring a childcare wife is expensive and worrying, and she is worrying. On this occasion, colleagues recommended this childcare center.

  As one of the few social institutions in Nanjing that can provide seamless connection with maternity leave, this childcare center can accept infants and young children from 6 months to 3 years old, and has currently accepted more than 400 infants and young children.

Benefiting from favorable policies such as the "Jiangsu Provincial Implementation Plan on Optimizing Childbirth Policy and Promoting Long-term Balanced Population Development" issued in February last year, Jiangsu added 95 inclusive childcare institutions last year.

  In order to promote the development of inclusive childcare services, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong Shenzhen, Hainan Haikou, Yunnan and other places have successively introduced corresponding incentive measures in recent years, including financial support for inclusive childcare pilots, incentives for demonstration institutions, and childcare personnel training , Exempt value-added tax for qualified nurseries, kindergartens, and community childcare service institutions.

  With enough holidays, many families are more calm when facing fertility problems.

According to relevant national regulations, female employees enjoy 98 days of maternity leave.

Many places have extended the women's maternity leave to 158 days and above, and the spouse's paternity leave (nursing leave) to about 15 days.

The addition of paid parental leave has become a common practice in various places. Before the child is 3 years old, both husband and wife are generally given 5-20 days of leave per year.

Some places have more flexible forms of leave.

For example, Chongqing Municipality stipulates that after the expiration of maternity leave or nursing leave, with the approval of the unit, one spouse can take parental leave until the child is 1 year old, or both husband and wife can take 5 to 10 days of parental leave each year before the child is 6 years old.

  The housing problem is also an important reason why many families "do not dare to have children".

Jiangsu, Fujian, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin and other places have proposed that when allocating public rental housing, eligible families can be given appropriate consideration in terms of house type selection based on the number of minor children.

Jinan proposed that for families with two children and above under the minor policy that meet the application conditions for public rental housing, a maximum amount of 600,000 yuan to 1 million yuan will be given when applying for a housing provident fund loan to purchase the first self-occupied house.

Zhejiang Hangzhou proposes that families with three children can buy an additional house, and give priority to lottery when buying a new house.

Make a good policy "combination boxing" so that people of the right age can "afford" and "raise well"

  South China Agricultural University last year conducted 673 effective questionnaires on permanent residents aged 18-50 in Guangzhou. The results showed that the reasons why people give birth, from high to low, are: increasing family fun, liking children, consolidating the relationship between husband and wife, fulfilling life responsibilities, policy support etc.

Factors that are conducive to increasing the willingness of the population of childbearing age to have children are as follows: stable job and career development, partner support, better family income, sound social welfare and security mechanisms, birth incentive policies, etc.; The lowest order is: children without care, heavy financial burden, difficulty in balancing the relationship between family and work, housing difficulties, education and medical and health resource factors, etc.

  Relevant surveys show that love for children, especially the joy brought by children's growth, is an important motivation for people's childbearing behavior, while factors such as heavy economic burden, unattended children, and women's worries about career development are the main obstacles restricting childbearing. .

  "Building a fertility-friendly society is the key to improving people's willingness to bear children." Yang Ge believes that public policy, cultural and public opinion should be strengthened through systematic, long-term, and comprehensive fertility-friendly system construction, infrastructure construction, and social environment construction. The wider inclusiveness of childbearing will allow more people of the right age who are willing to have children to "afford to have children" and "raise well".

She suggested improving the multi-channel and multi-level policy system for reducing the burden of child-rearing families, further enhancing the flexibility and scientific nature of the policy, such as directly subsidizing infant-related products, and effectively protecting the rights of employees to maternity leave through improving the mechanism.

  Wang Guangzhou, a researcher at the Institute of Population and Labor Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that in the process of exploring and effectively reducing the cost of people's birth, raising and education, they need to pay close attention to the scientificity and effectiveness of public resource allocation, especially in some cities. In the context of the contradiction between stock, incremental allocation and actual demand, scientific assessment should be made according to the needs of different groups to ensure that relevant policies are accurately implemented.

He suggested that more systematic, in-depth and forward-looking scientific research be further strengthened to accurately grasp the objective laws, stage characteristics and key problems of fertility changes.

  Experts in the industry suggest that the policy "combination boxing" should be done well, and that efforts should be made in fertility support and family development to promote childbirth policies and related economic and social policies in the same direction, and policies such as housing, education, medical care, employment, taxation, and social security should be appropriately targeted Family preference for childbearing, explore and improve the holiday labor cost sharing mechanism and childbirth-friendly policy support system jointly participated by the government, employers, and individuals, so as to effectively reduce the burden of family childbearing and raise childbearing potential, and stimulate childbearing potential.

  Build a healthy and positive outlook on marriage and love and a culture of marriage and childbearing.

Zhang Yongjun, a marriage and love consulting expert, believes that people's "fear of marriage" and "fear of childbearing" have both objective obstacles and subjective reasons.

On the one hand, it is necessary to continue to promote the reform of marriage customs, and to get rid of stereotypes and bad habits such as extravagant weddings and high-priced gifts; The family development concept of loving relatives, age-appropriate marriage and childbearing, and family harmony; providing psychological counseling services and education and training through multiple channels to help people strengthen their social and psychological construction, improve their personality, and create a childbearing-friendly social atmosphere.