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China Leave Laws & Holidays for 2024

Paid Time Off, Vacation, Sick Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Parental Leave, Bereavement Leave, Jury Duty Leave, Military Leave, Voting Leave, and Marriage Leave

Table Of Contents

Paid Time Off (PTO) in China

This page was last updated on December 25, 2023.

Vacation Leave Quota

5 working days (after completing 1 year of work).

Mandatory paid vacation in China is not as favorable for employees as in most other countries, especially compared to Western companies. Although Canadian leave laws (10 days) and US federal vacation policy (0 days) are also not advantageous to their employees, countries in western Europe, like the United Kingdom (28 days) or France (25 days), offer their employees the best vacation entitlement.

Number of Vacation Days

Statutory paid vacation is required by the Labor Contract Law of China, and the number of days depends on the total number of years spent in employment. Note that, unlike in other countries, the total number of years is based on an employee’s work experience with all employers, not just the current one.

Employees are entitled to paid vacation after completing their first year of work.

So, the minimum paid vacation is determined by the employee’s cumulative service across all employers, using the following formula:

Total Work Experience (All Employers) Number of Vacation Days
Less than 1 year Calculated on a prorated basis
1 – 10 years 5 days
10 – 20 years 10 days
More than 20 years 15 days

For employees with 5 days of vacation, vacation accrues on a monthly basis, at 0.42 days per month.

Statutory vacation doesn’t include rest days (Saturday and/or Sunday), public holidays, and other types of approved absences (maternity/paternity leave, bereavement leave, etc.).

Vacation Days for New Employees

Newly hired employees are entitled to paid vacation even during their first year of employment if they have prior work experience at other companies.

The number of vacation days for newly hired employees is determined by the following formula:

  • (Number of calendar days the employee will work in that year / 365)  x the number of statutory vacation days that he/she is entitled to (based on the total number of years of the employee’s previous work experience, as detailed in the table above).

For example, if an employee starts work on April 1, and is entitled to 5 days of vacation per year:

There would be 9 months remaining. 9 months equals 274 calendar days left in that year.

(274 / 365) x 5 = 0.75 x 5 = 3.75 = 4

Rounded up, the employee would receive 4 vacation days for that year.

Employees without prior work experience are not entitled to paid vacation when they start employment.

How Many Days Do Employers Really Offer?

Many companies in China choose to offer employees vacation benefits that exceed the legally mandated minimum. This is a strategic move in order to remain competitive in the labour market. Going above and beyond the legal minimum helps to attract and retain top talent.

Employers providing additional vacation days should ensure that these provisions are clearly outlined in the company policy and communicated to employees, ideally within the HR handbook. It is also important to note that a company promising a vacation that is longer than the mandated minimum is legally obligated to fulfill that promise.

Who Doesn’t Qualify for Vacation?

Employees may not be eligible for paid vacation in the following scenarios:

  • when they have seasonal holiday entitlements (summer or winter vacation)
  • when they’ve taken 20 days or more of paid personal leave
  • when they’ve taken sick leave for 2, 3, 4 months, or longer
Carry Over

Employees can typically carry over unused vacation days from one year to the next, although employers might set a deadline for this. However, an employer who does not allow an employee to take allotted vacation days (despite the employee’s desire to do so) is required to pay 300% of their regular daily wage for each untaken vacation day.

Payment of Accrued, Unused Vacation on Termination

When an employer terminates an employee, or if an employment contract expires, they are required to compensate for all accrued and unused vacation days.

This is calculated by the formula:

(Number of calendar days the employee has worked for the company in that year / 365)  x the number of vacation days that he/she is entitled to – the number of vacation days the employee has already used that year.


An employer pays employees their regular salary during vacation.

Sick Leave in China

Sick leave regulations in China are complex. Rules regarding the duration of sick leave vary across provinces and municipalities.

Employees may be entitled to up to 2 years of sick leave. Both foreign and local Chinese employees are entitled to paid sick leave benefits, generally receiving compensation between 60-100% of their daily wages.

Duration of Sick Leave

From 3 to 24 paid months, depending on the length of service.

Employees are entitled to sick leave ranging from 3 to 24 months, based on their tenure with the current employer, total years of work experience, and the severity of their illness or injury.

Sick leave duration, based on service length, is as follows:

Total Work Experience (All Employers) Tenure with the Current Employer Maximum Duration of Sick Leave
Under 10 years Less than 5 years 3 months
5 years or more 6 months
10 years or more Less than 5 years 6 months
5 – 10 years 9 months
10 – 15 years 12 months
15 – 20 years 18 months
20 years or more 24 months

Sick Pay Policies

60% to 100% of the employee’s normal wage.

Employers are legally required to pay a portion of their employees’ wages during sick leave.

An employee receives between 60% and 100% of their regular salary while on sick leave. The amount of sick pay can vary based on the employee’s seniority and the specific regulations of the city (for example, Shanghai and Beijing have different regulations).

Here are some examples:

Shanghai: An employee’s pay is determined by both salary and work experience.

Shenzhen: It’s based only on salary.

Beijing and Jiangsu Province: The amount is governed by the employment contract.

Job Protection

In addition to providing sick leave benefits and pay, employers have obligations related to job protection. They cannot terminate an employee during their sick leave or medical treatment period. Also, if an employee’s labor contract expires while they’re on sick leave, the contract must be extended.


Sick leave is paid by the employer.

Maternity, Paternity, and Parental Leave in China

Different types of child-related paid leave include:

  • Maternity leave:

  • => Prenatal check-ups

  • => Breast-feeding leave

  • Paternity leave

  • Parental leave (for both the mother and father)

The exact duration of these types of leave varies by province.

Employees are compensated at their regular pay rate during these leave periods.

Maternity Leave

A national minimum of 98 paid days, but most provinces allow between 128 and 190 days.

Duration of Maternity Leave (from the national standard to provincial variations)

All pregnant employees in China are guaranteed a basic 98 days of paid maternity leave by the government. However, most provinces allow for extra maternity days on top of the minimum of 98 days. For example, Guangdong offers 80 days of extended leave (178 days in total); Henan 92 days (190 in total); Shanghai and Beijing offer 60 extra days (158 in total).

As a result, most female employees are entitled to between 128 and 190 calendar days of maternity leave.

Province Total number of days (basic + extended)
Henan and Hainan 190 days
Gansu, Heilongjiang, and Fujian 180 days
Guangdong, Chongqing, and Guangzhou 178 days
Guangxi 148 days
Tianjin and Jiangsu 128 days
Other regions (including Beijing & Shanghai) 158 days

Leave may begin 15 days before the expected date of childbirth.

It is also worth noting that foreigners working in China are limited to the basic 98-day maternity leave. They aren’t entitled to the extended leave provided by provinces, because it is reserved only for Chinese citizens.

Additional Maternity Days

The basic maternity leave may be extended in some situations:

  • 15 days: For difficult labor, or multiple births (twins or triplets)
  • 15 or 42 days: In the event of an abortion or miscarriage, depending on the stage of pregnancy (whether within the first 4 months or after)
  • up to 30 days: In certain regions, for employees aged 24 and older.

Prenatal Check-up Leave

Starting in the 12th week of pregnancy, pregnant female employees are entitled to paid leave for prenatal checkups.

Breast-Feeding Leave

Following childbirth, female employees are given a one-hour paid break daily for breastfeeding during their work hours. This benefit continues until the baby is 1 year old.

Additionally, a female employee can apply for 6 and a half months of breastfeeding leave after giving birth. If this leave is approved by the employer, she will receive 80% of her regular monthly salary during this period. Breastfeeding leave is paid by the employer.

Protection for Pregnant Employees

Employers are prohibited from terminating a female employee during her pregnancy, maternity leave, or breastfeeding period (which lasts until the child’s first birthday). Additionally, if a woman becomes pregnant during a fixed-term contract and the contract expires during her pregnancy, it should be automatically extended until the end of her breastfeeding period.

From the seventh month of pregnancy, employers shouldn’t assign pregnant employees to overtime work or nighttime shifts. This restriction remains in place while she is breastfeeding a child who is less than a year old.

Maternity Pay

Maternity allowance is paid by the government or the employer, based on the employee’s enrollment in maternity insurance.

The maternity insurance fund covers the employee’s average monthly wage during leave, while the employer compensates for any deficit.

Pregnant employees will receive a maternity allowance instead of a salary.

Female employees enrolled in maternity insurance for the required duration will have their maternity allowance paid by the Maternity Insurance Fund, which is managed by the local Social Security Bureau. If the employee hasn’t met the required participation duration in the maternity insurance scheme, the employer is responsible for the maternity allowance payout.

The maternity allowance is determined by either the employee’s average monthly wage over the 12 months preceding the expected birth date or three times the minimum wage, whichever is higher. Although this amount is typically capped at three times the average salary in a given Bureau’s region, there’s no such limit in Beijing or Shanghai. The Social Security Bureau, where the employee is registered, handles this calculation. Note that the calculation methods for basic and extended maternity leave might differ according to provincial regulations.

Paternity Leave

On average, 15 paid days are granted nationally; it varies by province between 7 and 30 days.

Most working fathers in China can take paternity leave if they meet eligibility criteria, though the duration varies by region. In most regions, they are entitled to 15 days.


Paternity leave eligibility can vary depending on the province, but generally it involves the following:

  • Fathers are required to present their child’s birth certificate and may need to submit additional documents based on provincial guidelines.
  • They must be legally married.
  • They should have been employed by their current employer for at least 1 year.
  • They must have a labour contract or service agreement.

Paternity leave should be taken within 30 days following the child’s birth.

Duration of Paternity Leave

The exact duration of paternity leave is determined by provincial regulations.

The following table presents the paternity leave required by certain regions.

Province Paternity Leave
Henan, Jiangxi, Anhui, Yunnan, and Gansu 30 days
Ningxia, Guangxi, and Inner Mongolia 25 days
Liaoning, Chongqing, Sichuan, and Hunan 20 days
Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Beijing 15 days
Shanghai 10 days
Shandong and Tianjin 7 days

Employers have the discretion to offer additional days, beyond the standard 15-30 days of paternity leave offered in most Chinese provinces.

Paternity Pay

Paternity leave is paid by the employer. Employees should receive their regular salary, but the specifics again depend on local regulations.

Parental Leave (or Childcare Leave)

No national policy; the duration varies from 5 to 15 days, depending on location.

Childcare or parental leave is a designated period that allows employees to care for their young children until they reach the age of three. Both parents can take parental leave, choosing how to share the time.

There is no national policy for parental leave. As for all other child-related types of leave, parental leave is controlled by local governments. The duration is determined by each province individually.

As of March 2023, 29 provinces have specified the duration of parental leave. Here are the specified durations for some provinces.

15 days: Gansu, Qinghai, and Shanxi

10 days: Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Ningxia, Shandong, Sichuan, Tianjin, Xinjiang, and Zhejiang.

5 days: Beijing and Shanghai

However, it’s important to note that some provinces don’t have mandatory childcare leave.


Generally, the base salary is maintained in most regions during parental leave.

Bereavement Leave in China

3 days of paid leave.

Employees in China are entitled to 3 days of paid bereavement leave in the event of the death of a close family member (a spouse, a parent, or a child). The exact duration of bereavement leave may vary from 1 to 3 days, and depends on region/local regulations and the employment contract.

Certain provinces, like Shanghai, extend bereavement leave to in-laws and other immediate family members.


Bereavement leave in China is paid by the employer. The employee’s salary is paid as usual.

Jury Duty Leave in China

Jury duty leave is not specified by Chinese law.

Military Leave in China

Military leave is not specified by Chinese law.

Voting Leave in China

Voting leave is not specified by Chinese law.

Marriage Leave in China

At least 3 days of paid leave. Most provinces offer 10 to 30 days.

China has provided rather generous marriage leave to recently married couples in order to promote childbirth.

Like almost all types of paid leave in China, the precise duration of leave may vary depending on location, but basic marriage leave is at least 3 days in all provinces. On top of these 3 days, each province offers extended marriage leave; Gansu and Shanxi are the most generous, providing 30 days each. Beijing and Shanghai offer 10 days of marriage leave.


Marriage leave in China is paid by the employer.

China Public Holidays for 2024

7 major public holidays

Chinese labor law recognizes 7 main public holidays, but most of them last more than 1 day.

Each year, the government extends certain public holidays to create extended time off periods, up to 8 days, called “Golden Weeks,” for both the Chinese New Year and the National Day of China. In 2024, the Chinese New Year lasts from February 10 to 17 (8 non-working days), while the National Day from October 1 to 7 (7 non-working days).

Employees in China receive their regular salary during these holidays. Those who work on these days should be compensated with overtime pay.

A complete list of official holidays celebrated in China for 2024:
Date Holiday
January 1 New Year’s Day 2024
February 10-17 (movable)* Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)
April 4-6 (movable)* Ching Ming Festival (Tomb-Sweeping Day)
May 1-5 Labor Day
June 10 (movable)* Dragon Boat Festival
September 15-17 (movable)* Mid-Autumn Festival
October 1-7 ** National Day of China

*The exact dates of these holidays vary every year depending on the lunar calendar:

Chinese New Year falls between late January and mid-February (the first, second, or third day of the first month of the lunar calendar).

Ching Ming Festival falls between April 4th and 7th.

Dragon Boat Festival typically falls in May or June.

Mid-Autumn Festival falls between mid-September and mid-October.

** The National Day of China falls on the 1st day of October.

If a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, paid time off will be carried over to the following workday.

Additional holidays may be added, depending on religion and region.


Holidays in China are paid by the employer. Employees continue to receive their full wages during these holidays.


  1. Employment and Employee Benefits in China: Overview, https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/1-503-3245
  2. China Guide: Employ in China with Ease, https://bradfordjacobs.com/countries/asia/china/
  3. Payroll and Benefits Guide China, https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/china/
  4. Finding talent: China, https://workmotion.com/countries/china/
  5. Local Laws & Regulations – Expand into China: Atlas, https://www.atlashxm.com/en/countries/china
  6. Childcare Leave in China, https://www.china-briefing.com/news/childcare-leave-in-china-regularly-updated/
  7. The original release by the government of China about public holidays, https://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2022-12/08/content_5730844.htm

Check out our Leave Laws page to learn more about laws in various countries.

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about this region's leave laws. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may not be current. Please contact your local legal counsel to learn more about the leave laws in your country.

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