President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday announced his administration would give higher childbirth subsidies to female workers who give birth to twins, while offering loans to encourage women to start their own business as he promised to promote women’s rights.
Ma made the announcement at a forum with female labor representatives in Taipei.
Starting next year, female workers who give birth to twins would be entitled to a two-month childbirth subsidy, and those who have triplets can apply for a three-month subsidy.
Current regulations state that all female workers who give birth are eligible for a one-month childbirth subsidy from the labor insurance scheme.
The president also promised a three-year zero interest loan of NT$1 million to female workers who are the main financial providers in their families to help them start their own businesses.
The plan is an extension of the current two-year zero interest loan project.
“Most female workers have heavier responsibilities than their male counterparts as they try to strike a balance between family and work. I’ve always cared about women’s rights since my terms as Taipei mayor and it is my responsibility [as president] to protect their rights,” Ma said.
The announcement was Ma’s latest attempt to appeal to women’s groups ahead of the presidential election.
Earlier yesterday, Ma met with members of the former National Assembly, as the delegates pledged to support him in the presidential election.
The members, led by former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and former director of the assembly Chen Ching-jang (陳金讓), promised to devote all their efforts to campaigning for Ma.
Ma, who also served as a member of the assembly, used the occasion to defend the so-called “1992 consensus,” arguing that the consensus was reached in August 1992 during a meeting of the National Unification Commission and that “one China” refers to the Republic of China.
Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) presided over the meeting in preparation for cross-strait negotiations between the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) in October 1992 in Hong Kong and, despite the fact that no concrete results were reached during the negotiations, the SEF and ARATS agreed that each side could have its own interpretation of “one China,” Ma said.