The New Taipei City Government yesterday gave a gift to parents in the city ahead of International Women’s Day on Saturday by passing a draft bylaw on prenatal maternity and paternity leave, and by lengthening post-pregnancy paternity leave.
City officials voted in favor of passing the bylaw, titled the New Taipei City Gender Equality in Employment Bylaw (新北市性別工作平等自治條例), at a meeting presided over by Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday morning.
If passed by the New Taipei City Council and approved by the Executive Yuan, the draft bylaw will entitle mothers-to-be to five days of half-paid prenatal examination leave and allow their husbands two days unpaid leave to accompany their wives.
It will also increase post-pregnancy paternity leave from three to seven days to give new fathers more time to take care of their wives and their newborns, New Taipei City’s Department of Labor Affairs Director Hsieh Cheng-ta (謝政達) said.
However, only the first three days will be with pay, Hsieh added.
“Pregnant women are advised to undergo at least 10 prenatal examinations before their due date to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. However, the current law does not allow them to use sick leave to attend the routine tests, or protect them from receiving a negative performance evaluation or being improperly treated by their employers for taking leave,” Hsieh said.
“In addition, if they want to be screened for fetal chromosomal abnormalities, their spouses are also required to be there to undergo the test,” Hsieh said.
Hsieh added that the bylaw also prohibits employers from cutting employees’ full attendance bonus for taking any of the three types of leaves.
“The bylaw aims to encourage young couples to have children by making up for the deficiencies of the Act of Gender Equality in Employment (性別工作平等法]),” Hsieh said.
It is unlikely to have a major impact on local industries because the city government negotiated with labor unions on the issue in advance, he said.