Civic groups and a lawmaker yesterday called for private sector employees to be given paid leave for up to seven days per year to take care of family members in the event of typhoons or other natural disasters, as is given to civil servants.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) told a press conference that the Executive Yuan’s proposed family care leave bill has “ridiculously” set two preconditions for granting paid leave to care for family.
The first is to only grant paid leave when local governments declare a typhoon day for schools but not for office workers and second, that the family members being cared for must be under the age of 12.
According to government estimates, an average of only 0.3 days a year were declared typhoon days for schools, but not for office workers over the past 10 years, she said, adding that the Executive Yuan’s proposal would also ignore the need to care for the elderly and children older than 12.
At present, the Gender Employment Equality Act (性別工作平等法) allows employees to take up to seven days a year of unpaid family care leave in circumstances such as typhoons.
However, civil servants receive better treatment because five out of seven of their family care leaves are paid.
The preferential treatment incited public anger in August last year after Typhoon Nanmadol hit Taiwan causing disgruntled office workers to inundate President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) Facebook page with complaints.
Ma subsequently directed the Council of Labor Affairs to revise the act, which will be voted on this week in the legislature.
The DPP caucus has proposed five-day paid family care leaves for employees while Yu took it further, proposing universal seven-day paid leaves for all employees and civil servants.
Lin Shih-fang (林實芳), Awakening Foundation’s secretary-general, accused the council of failing to implement family care leaves since a survey showed that 62.8 percent of private companies did not provide them to their employees.
Federation for the Welfare of the Elderly secretary-general Wu Yu-chin (吳玉琴) said it was not fair that civil servants enjoy better treatment than private sector employees in almost all areas.