Thu, Dec 13, 2007 - Page 2 News List

New parents may get more leave

By Angelica Oung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislature's Sanitation, Environment and Social Welfare Committee yesterday passed an amendment that extends the right of maternity and paternity leave to employees of small businesses.

The amendment to the Gender Equality Employment Law (性別工作平等法) will extend the right to maternity and paternity leave to employees in about 900,000 businesses previously exempt because of their small size, estimates by Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) officials showed.

As the law currently stands, workers are allowed to take up to two years of uncompensated maternity or paternity leave per couple without risking their jobs, provided the company has more than 30 employees.

"The high proportion of small and medium-sized businesses in this country means the amendment affects a lot of people," said Shih Yin-ho (施銀河), section chief at the CLA's Department of Labor Standards.

The amendment also extended the number of days men can take off to accompany their partner during delivery from two to three days.

The amendment will go to the legislature for approval.

An amendment to the Employment Insurance Law (就業保險法) that would give new parents on maternity or paternity leave a monthly birth benefit for a certain period of time was also discussed at the meeting.

The Executive Yuan version of the amendment will provide a monthly benefit lasting six months at 50 percent of the employee's insured salary.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Ying-yih (吳英毅) pushed for a more generous birth benefit: two years and 80 percent of the employee's insured salary. However, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英), who supported the Executive Yuan version, said such compensation would be unsustainable. The committee did not reach a consensus.

"The birth benefit is supposed to come out of the employment insurance fund," she said. "But there isn't enough money in the fund right now to pay for the birth benefit at the level sought by KMT legislators."

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