【Unlocking Word Meanings】
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. leave /liv/ (n.) – permitted absence from work
Example: Women are entitled to a maternal leave after they give birth.
2. aftermath / æf tərˌmæθ / (n.) – the time after an event, usually a disastrous
Example: Many were left homeless in the aftermath of the storm.
3. abolition / ˌæb əˈlɪʃ ən / (n.) – the act of doing away or ending something
Example: The nation rejoiced after the abolition of slavery.
4. commodity / kəˈmɒd ɪ ti / (n.) – things that are bought or sold
Example: Some people take on two jobs because of the rise in the prices of basic commodities.
5. assumption / əˈsʌmp ʃən / (n.) – something that is assumed to be true despite having no proof
Example: People have different assumptions about places they have never visited.
Read the text below.
Beijing’s revised family planning regulation now allows new parents to take longer leaves.
Under the revised regulation, a new father can take up to 15 days paternal leave upon the birth of his child, from the previous maximum of only 10 days. A new mother, on the other hand, can have up to seven months of leave if her employer approves. Prior to the revision, mothers were allowed only up to a maximum of six months of maternal leave.
It is assumed that the revision was made in hopes of encouraging Chinese couples to have more children, as the country faces problems with a low birth rate and an aging population.
One-third of China’s population is expected to be aged 60 and above by 2050, while the working population that will support the non-working population would be less. This imbalance is seen as the aftermath of the one-child policy that had been imposed in the country for more than 30 years before its abolition in January this year. However, there is apprehension that the rising prices of commodities in the country would keep discouraging couples to have more children.
Despite assumptions about the reason behind the revision, Beijing authorities stated that the extension was granted to help maintain the physical and psychological health of mothers and their babies. Other Chinese cities like Shanghai are also planning to impose a similar regulation.
Meanwhile, Singapore is also planning to extend its mandated paternal leave to two weeks from the current one week. According to Singapore’s Senior Minister Josephine Teo, the change is to be imposed in hopes of promoting a better family life and work-life balance among Singaporeans.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
· In your opinion, how long should parental leaves be? Why?
· What is the importance of allowing new parents to take parental leaves?
· Do you think that the policy would encourage couples to have more children? Why or why not?
· What do you think would encourage parents to have more children?