Legislators across party lines yesterday proposed an amendment that would grant COVID-19 pandemic-related leave subsidies to parents, potentially totaling up to NT$10 billion (US$357 million).
The proposal would add a clause to the Special Act for Prevention, Relief and Revitalization Measures for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens (嚴重特殊傳染性肺炎防治及紓困振興特別條例), allowing workers who have to take unpaid leave to take care of their children who are younger than 12 or attending elementary school to apply for the subsidies.
The subsidy amount would be 60 percent of the recipients’ total insurance payouts for the previous year, estimated at NT$683 per day.
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times
Many parents, especially low-income families, have been forced to take unpaid leave to care for their children during a nationwide COVID-19 outbreak in the past few days, Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶) said.
Payment for leave in such situations is optional, as stipulated in Ministry of Labor regulations, said Lai, a labor rights advocate.
Some companies have refused to allow workers to take special paid leave for workers to take care of their children, and instead asked them to take a vacation leave, she said.
The companies’ requests contravene workers’ rights, Lai said, but added that many small and medium-sized firms could not afford to grant their workers special leave.
“It highlights the necessity of writing into law the rights of workers to take pandemic-related special leave bolstered by subsidy payments,” Lai said.
Since a level 3 COVID-19 alert was declared in Taipei and New Taipei City on Saturday last week, which was extended nationwide on Wednesday, more than 2.53 million children up to 12 years old are expected to stay home for two weeks, Lai said.
Considering that for each child one parent would have to stay home, and that a certain share of them would have to take special leave and apply for the subsidy, it is estimated that it would cost the government up to NT$10 billion, she said, adding that this amount was small, compared with the Executive Yuan’s special budget of NT$210 billion.
Lai said she hoped the amendment would be passed as soon as possible to help financially disadvantaged Taiwanese.
The bill, signed by 21 legislators across party lines, was sponsored by Lai, TPP Legislator Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿), Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔).
While the antiparasitic drug ivermectin is being touted as a treatment for COVID-19 in many parts of the world, Taiwanese experts on Monday warned against regular use of the drug in COVID-19 treatment, citing a lack of solid evidence. “Following an experts’ meeting, we do not recommend regular use of ivermectin in treating COVID-19 due to the lack of enough evidence,” said Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳), convener of the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) expert advisory panel. A report in the American Journal of Therapeutics said that meta-analyses based on 18 randomized controlled treatment trials of ivermectin in COVID-19 patients had found large,
CLASSES HALTED: Cram schools have had to return tuition fees due to mandatory closures and might need to lay off half of their staff because of a lack of revenue The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the education sector, with some cram schools and tutoring centers saying they might soon be unable to pay their instructors due to the extension of a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert. The heightened alert level means schools must remain closed, so cram schools and tutoring centers have had to return tuition fees, one cram school said. June is normally the peak season for recruiting new students at cram schools and tutoring centers, but this year many such schools might need to lay off half of their staff due to a lack of
‘LOW PROBABILITY’: China still ‘has a ways to go to develop the actual, no-kidding capability’ to seize Taiwan militarily, US General Mark Milley said The US’ top general on Thursday downplayed concern that China would attempt a military takeover of Taiwan in the near term, saying Beijing does not have the capability to do so. While there has been rising concern in Taiwan and among US lawmakers about Chinese military activity near Taiwan, such as flying jets in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), US military officials said that such moves are not overly concerning. US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told lawmakers that while Taiwan was still a core national interest of China, “there’s little intent right now, or motivation,
The Canadian House of Commons on Thursday unanimously passed the first reading of a proposal to create a legal framework for efforts to strengthen relations with Taiwan. The Canada-Taiwan Relations Framework Act was introduced by Canadian Member of Parliament Michael Cooper, who said that not having a formal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan has complicated interactions between the two nations. Taiwan is one of Canada’s largest trading partners, and the two share strong people-to-people links and common values, he said. Taiwan “is a vibrant economy and one of the world’s top 20 economies. It is time Canada’s relations with Taiwan reflect