Thu, Dec 12, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Groups say 13 parties signed statement in support of paid leave for caregiving

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Representatives of the Awakening Foundation, the Taiwan Association of Family Caregivers and the Confederation of Taipei Trade Unions in Taipei yesterday hold a placard showing the symbols of 13 political parties that have declared their support for workers being given partially paid leave to care for family members.

Photo: CNA

Thirteen political parties have signed a statement supporting partially paid leave for workers who need time off to make arrangements for family members with long-term care needs, three Taipei-based groups said yesterday.

The Awakening Foundation, the Taiwan Association of Family Caregivers and the Confederation of Taipei Trade Unions last month sent letters to 19 parties inviting them to support giving workers 30 days of leave at 60 percent pay and 150 days of unpaid leave to attend to their caregiving responsibilities, the groups said.

The letter also asked the parties to acknowledge the importance of allowing workers to look after family members without needing to quit their jobs and to promise to push for legislation in the next legislative term to guarantee time off for workers to perform caregiving duties, they said.

The three groups said that their policy proposals were backed by more than 100 groups and 1,000 experts and individuals who have signed a petition they drafted.

The 104 groups who signed the petition included organizations focused on labor rights, gender issues and social welfare, among other topics, they said.

According to a copy of the letter, the groups told the parties that their responses would be published for voters to use as a reference in making voting decisions.

Of the 19 parties, which all have nominees for legislator-at-large seats in the Jan. 11 elections, 13 returned the letters signed, the groups said.

The majority of the 13 parties that signed the letters are “third-force political parties,” including the Taiwan People’s Party, the People First Party, the New Power Party, the Green Party and the Taiwan Solidarity Union, foundation senior research fellow Tsen Chao-yuan (曾昭媛) said.

“We were definitely pleased to see the third-force political parties respond,” she said.

However, the two parties that currently have the most seats in the Legislative Yuan — the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) — did not sign the letter, Tsen said, adding that the groups were “disappointed” with their responses.

The groups said that the DPP told them that the Ministry of Labor is exploring solutions, while the KMT said that it “neither opposes nor supports” the proposals.

The need to care for family members with a disability or dementia affects the jobs of about 2.31 million workers in Taiwan, the groups said, citing ministry estimates.

Ministry statistics show that about 133,000 employees in Taiwan quit their jobs each year due to caregiving reasons, they said.

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