Sat, May 05, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Legislature passes anti-discrimination bill

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislature yesterday passed an amendment stipulating that employers can not discriminate against jobseekers on the basis of birthplace, sexual orientation or age.

Violators of the amendment to the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) face a fine of NT$300,000 to NT$1.5 million (US$8,900 to US$45,000).

The lack of prohibition on age discrimination in the original Act fails to reflect the spirit of equal opportunity, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lu Tien-Lin (盧天麟) said.

The inclusion will be helpful to reduce the unemployment rate of middle-aged and senior job seekers, he said.

"With the bill's passage, job seekers are entitled to file a complaint if they encounter age discrimination," Lu said.

DPP Legislator Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) said including sexual orientation in the amendment was an indication of the country's progress in safeguarding the rights of homosexuals.

Meanwhile, parts of the amendment were revised to help employers who encounter problems with runaway foreign domestic workers.

Under current regulations, employers are not allowed to reapply for a foreign domestic worker within a year of reporting a runaway to the authorities.

Lawmakers reduced the waiting period to six months in cases where foreign workers were working in the employer's home. The amendment also stipulates that employers may immediately submit another application if the domestic worker they applied for runs away before arriving at the work place.

"Employers should not suffer because a foreign domestic worker runs away, because the problem is often caused by human traffickers and broker agencies," People First Party Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) said.

Lawmakers also revised a regulation that required employers to pay for the costs of repatriating a runaway if the runaway is caught.

The amendment stipulates that, in cases where the runaway has secured a job with a new employer illegally, the new employer must pay the repatriation costs.

In related developments, the legislature yesterday also passed an amendment to the Civil Law (民法), changing regulations governing marriage ceremonies.

The law stipulates that a marriage is valid if a public ceremony with more than two witnesses is carried out. The amendment requires that marriages be registered.

The legislature yesterday also annulled the law's regulation requiring that parents use the father's surname for their children. The amendment requires that parents agree on the surname in writing before registering the birth of their child.

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