Sat, Aug 04, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Bill allowing paid typhoon leave set for talks next month

Staff writer, with CNA

When the Legislature reopens on Sept. 18, lawmakers will negotiate a controversial bill aimed at entitling private-sector workers entitlement to paid family leave on typhoon days, according to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus.

The most contentious issues in the bill involve the number of days and the conditions for such leave. The bill, proposed by the Cabinet as an amendment to the Gender Equality in Employment Act (性別工作平等法), seeks to allow private-sector workers paid days off to be with their children aged 12 and under when classes are canceled due to typhoons or other natural disasters.

The proposal was raised following widespread complaints that workers were left in a quandary last year when school classes, but not work, were canceled as Typhoon Nanmadol slammed through southern Taiwan. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has proposed allowing private-sector employees the same conditions that apply to government workers — civil servants are permitted a maximum of seven days family leave per year, five of which are paid and the time does not necessarily have to be taken during natural disasters.

“It does not make sense that government workers can take five paid days off while other employees lose pay if they take time off for the same purpose,” DPP caucus whip Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said.

The DPP has also proposed expanding the terms of the leave to include the care of senior family members and those who are physically or mentally challenged.

However, KMT Legislator Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said such an expansion might cost employers more. Seven versions of the bill on paid family leave have been sent to the legislature for review.

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