Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Eric Chu’s temporary leave of absence from his post as New Taipei City mayor conforms to all relevant regulations, Directorate-General of Personnel Administration Minister Frank Huang (黃富源) said yesterday.
“Every citizen is constitutionally entitled to participate in elections,” Huang said on the sidelines of a meeting of the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee.
“Chu has applied for a leave of absence from Tuesday until the end of December in accordance with the Public Servants’ Administrative Neutrality Act (公務人員行政中立法) and the Regulations on Civil Servants’ Applications for Leave (公務人員請假規則),” he said.
Huang made the remarks as the legality of Chu’s leave of absence has been called into question, prompting some netizens to urge young people to set their sights on becoming a mayor, as it is the only job in the nation that allows an extended holiday as long as three months.
According to Article 11 of the Public Servants’ Administrative Neutrality Act, civil servants registered as a candidate for a public office must take a leave of absence between the day of their candidacy registration and the polling day.
Their supervisors cannot reject such a request.
Under the Regulations on Civil Servants’ Applications for Leave, public servants with 14 years of seniority or longer are rewarded with 30 days of annual leave per year.
Any unused annual leave can be retained for a maximum of two years.
The Chinese-language newspaper Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) has estimated that Chu, who has been a public servant for 23 years, will have 44.5 and 30 days of annual leave available for this and next year respectively, but he would need 89 days off if he wishes to campaign all the way to the election on Jan. 16.
Asked what the maximum amount of leave was that Chu could take without resigning, Huang did not give a direct answer, saying only that the days the mayor has requested off were all compliant with the law.
Huang said there had been similar cases like that of Chu in the past and that such information was accessible to the public.
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