Fri, Jan 11, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Conscription rule changes to benefit expectant fathers

By Chen Yu-fu and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Draftees listen to orders from an officer in Taipei on Dec. 16 last year.

Photo: Tu Chu-min, Taipei Times

Changes to conscription regulations are to allow men of military age who have children to opt for alternative service at a post near their place of residence, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday.

Proposed changes to the alternative service regulations would make military-aged men whose wife is pregnant eligible for alternative service at a place near their legal residence, the ministry said in a statement.

Up to 3,000 people would benefit if the new standards are passed into law, the ministry said.

While the scheme would extend conscription from four months in the armed forces to six months performing civic duties, eligible men could work at government offices less than one hour’s drive from home, it said.

Men qualifying for alternative service due to their dependents being mentally or physically disabled, elderly or bedridden, or receiving welfare payments would also be allowed to serve near their homes, it said.

Additionally, the definition of dependents would be broadened to include spouses of a person’s siblings or those who fit the Civil Code category of “persons who are not relatives, but who live in the same household with the object of maintaining the common living permanently,” it said, adding that the measure is appropriate in light of increasing diversity in family situations.

After the changes are passed, eligible men could apply for alternative service at the appropriate civil affairs office, it said.

The proposed alternative scheme has no quota-based restrictions, the National Conscription Agency said.

Births in Taiwan last year fell to 181,601, or 7.56 births per 1,000 people, the lowest level in eight years, ministry data released on Wednesday showed.

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