The Ministry of Civil Service has proposed allowing public servants to take leave on an hourly basis for personal or family reasons, Minister of Civil Service Chou Hung-hsien (周弘憲) said on Sunday.
The ministry formally submitted a proposal last week to the Examination Yuan to allow public servants to structure their leave in hourly blocks, instead of the current mandatory half-day allotments, he said.
This would make workplaces more receptive to the needs of those raising children or caring for elderly family members, Chou said.
The proposal was a response to a petition submitted last year to the online Public Policy Network Participation Platform, which gathered the required 5,130 signatures to elicit a government response, he said.
The petition urged amending the regulations governing public employees’ vacation to allow for more flexible use of rest time.
By using an hour as the building block for time off, instead of a half-day, public employees would be able to pick up children from school or provide care for family, the petition said.
The Directorate-General of Personnel Administration forwarded the petition to the Ministry of Civil Service, Chou said.
Considering the intent of the regulation is to protect public employees’ right to have time off during the year, there is no compelling reason to require them to use their vacation time in half-day blocks, he said.
The ministry has discussed the plan with more than a score of relevant agencies and the responses have been positive, Chou said.
Should the Examination Yuan agree, the new system could take effect as early as May, he said.
Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛), the deputy director of the Ministry of Labor’s Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment, said the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) authorizes using the hour as the basic block in calculating leave only if business and labor representatives have agreed via contracts to do so.
The Chinese National Federation of Industries said the proposed reform would improve the flexibility and efficiency of the public sector.
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