In its latest effort to boost the nation’s fertility rate, the Executive Yuan yesterday approved two draft amendments that would make it easier for military officers to apply for parental leave, including halving the minimum length of service required to receive such leave.
Article 9-1 of the Act of Assignment for Officers and Non-commissioned Officers of the Armed Forces (陸海空軍軍官士官任職條) stipulates that officers can apply for leave without pay to care for children under the age of three if they have been in service for at least a year.
If passed by legislators, the draft amendment would cut the minimum length of service to six months, allowing more officers to stay home to take care of their children.
Officers who have adopted a child under the age of three would also be eligible for parental leave, the amendment says.
A draft amendment to the Act of Merit for Officers and Non-commissioned Officers of the Armed Forces (陸海空軍軍官士官考績條例) to protect the rights of officers applying for parental leave was also approved.
It is designed to revise Article 2 of the act, which states that a performance evaluation would only be conducted if an officer has served for more than six months consecutively in a given year.
The amendment would remove the “consecutive” requirement, giving greater flexibility to officers applying for leave to take care of their children or to accompany their spouses on overseas missions.
According to the Ministry of National Defense’s preliminary estimation, the two proposals would benefit between 800 and 1,000 officers per year, Department of Resource Planning Director-General Pai Chieh-lung (白捷隆) said.
The proposed amendments are part of the government’s efforts to encourage people to have more children, Deputy Minister of National Defense Shen Yi-ming (沈一鳴) said, adding that taking parental leave would not affect an officer’s job evaluation.
The US-based World Population Review’s latest Fertility Rate by Country report showed Taiwan ranking last among 200 countries, with a total fertility rate of 1.218 children per woman.
Japan and South Korea occupied the 179th and 194th spots with a total fertility rate of 1.478 and 1.323 children per woman respectively.
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