Thu, Mar 07, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Gender equality law now a reality

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

A young female dance instructor leads a Japanese `para para' dance session alongside Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, right, during celebrations in honor of Women's Day held at Taipei City Hall yesterday. The Gender Equality Labor Law goes into effect tomorrow, one day after Women's Day.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Women in Taiwan will enjoy more equality in the work place as the Gender Equality Labor Law (兩性工作平等法) goes into effect tomorrow.

Addressing the media after the weekly closed-door Cabinet affairs meeting yesterday morning, Cabinet Spokesperson Chuang Suo-hang (莊碩漢) quoted Premier Yu Shyi-kun as saying that the enforcement of the law lays a solid foundation for gender equality.

"After years of efforts made by both the Cabinet and the legislature, the bill was finally made into law. The implementation of the law means not only the end of gender discrimination but also the beginning of gender harmony," Chuang said.

To make the general public more familiar with the provisions of the law, Chuang said, the Cabinet will kick off intensive media promotion campaigns.

Cabinet agencies are also encouraged to act in accordance with the law in hopes that other government agencies and the corporate sector will follow suit.

The Cabinet's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission is charged with evaluating the implementation progress made by Cabinet agencies on a regular basis.

In addition, the 12-member Cabinet-level women's rights promotion committee will also meet every three months to review the gender equality situation, Chuang said.

To ensure the law is put into place smoothly, the Cabinet also promulgated seven related regulations yesterday.

They include the establishment of an 11-person gender equality labor committee under the Cabinet's Council of Labor Affairs, a toll-free national service hotline (080-038-038) and an appeal and review committee under each local government.

The Cabinet hopes to inaugurate the committee and the hotline service tomorrow when the law takes effect.

Other regulations include the set up of appeal channels by companies with more than 30 employees. The management of such companies are required to draft written measures addressing the problem of sexual harassment.

A company which has more than 250 employees is also required to provide nursery facilities for employees who need to take care of children under 12 years old while they are at work.

In addition, employees who have to take leave to care for their children can file for a minimum of six-months paid leave.

The Cabinet first proposed the gender equality labor bill in 1990.

After many rounds of discussion and revision, the Cabinet finally approved the bill in Mary 1999 and sent it to the Legislative Yuan for further review and final approval.

Taking the matter seriously, the legislature formed a six-person task force consisting of experts and academics to review the bill.

On Dec. 21, 2001, the bill finally passed its third reading in the legislature and was promulgated by the president on Jan. 16 this year.

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