Eight provincial-level areas of China have legislated for paid elder care leave, allowing employees to take time off to care for their sick parents.

In southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, an only child is allowed to take up to 15 days off each year if his or her parents are over 60 and in the hospital. Employees’ salaries, allowances and bonuses should not be reduced while taking leave.

Similar legislation was adopted in Heilongjiang, Fujian, Henan, Hubei, Guangdong, Hainan and Chongqing.

After more than 30 years of China’s one-child policy, care for the elderly has become a serious challenge to both families and the government.

Statistics show that there were about 230 million people age 60 or older in China at the end of 2016, accounting for 16.7 percent of the total population. About 51.3 percent of the elderly were “empty-nesters,” who live apart from their children.