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Fri, Mar 08, 2002 - Page 18 News List

Firms get to grips with equality law

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

With the Gender Equality Labor Law (兩性工作平等法) going into effect today, several enterprises are preparing new measures to reduce work-related inequality between men and women.

The law stipulates that female employees are entitled to one day leave per month for their menstrual discomfort, and up to two years childcare leave without pay. In addition, male staff can take two days leave to be present at the birth of their children.

The law also requires companies to establish nursery facilities and appeal channels for sexual harassment.

Employers said they were preparing measures to protect employees' interests.

"We'll definitely act in accordance with the law from tomorrow on. However, we need to survey employees' demand for nursery facilities, including a breast-feeding room," said Edith Wu (吳以智), director of human resources at ING Antai Life Insurance Co (安泰人壽), which has more than 2,400 staff and 19,000 salespeople.

She said the company has long offered two days maternity leave for male workers to be present at the birth of their children and one day leave per month for women's menstrual discomfort.

Other companies said they were also considering how to comply with the law.

Uni-president Corp (統一企業) said it would allow up to two years maternity leave without pay for employees with babies under 3 years old. However, this does not mean employees are being encouraged to take up the offer.

"It'll be difficult for the company to accommodate such a long vacation," said Lee Shih-ming (李世明), Uni-president's director of human resources. "However, as an employee myself, I don't think many will take advantage of the measure during the current economic downturn for fear of job security."

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