5 Laks to have children

China’s largest online travel agency, Trip.com, has unveiled a new initiative aimed at tackling the challenges posed by the country’s ageing population. In an effort to encourage its employees to start or expand their families, the company has introduced childcare subsidies as a financial incentive.

Under the new policy, Trip.com employees who have been with the company for three years or more will receive an annual bonus of 10,000 yuan (approximately Rs 1.1 lakh) for each newborn child. This subsidy will be provided every year until the child reaches the age of five. The announcement, made on June 30, will take effect from July 1.

The executive chairman of Trip.com, James Liang, expressed the company’s intention to support its employees in both their personal and professional aspirations. The introduction of the childcare benefit aims to provide financial assistance that encourages employees to pursue their family goals while maintaining their career growth and accomplishments.

Liang also emphasized the importance of broader support from the government and other companies to create a favorable environment for raising children. He suggested that financial aid should be provided to families with multiple children, allowing more young people to fulfill their desire to have larger families.

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This progressive childcare program will cost Trip.com approximately 1 billion yuan, marking the first such initiative implemented by a private company in China. It reflects the company’s commitment to address the declining birth rate, which dropped to a record low of 6.77 births per 1,000 people last year, down from 7.52 births in 2021.

Despite the government’s allowance for couples to have up to three children, many have been hesitant to do so, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Challenges such as high childcare and education expenses, low income levels, insufficient social safety nets, and gender inequality have deterred young couples from starting families.

Trip.com’s proactive approach in providing childcare subsidies serves as a positive example, highlighting the significance of corporate responsibility in creating a supportive environment for family planning. By offering financial incentives and acknowledging the multifaceted barriers faced by young parents, the company aims to contribute to the solution of China’s ageing population challenge.
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