Prenatal leave sought for working fathers-to-be in Taiwan

Democratic Progressive Party legislator Fan Yun has called on the government to grant expectant fathers a week of prenatal leave.
By: | December 14, 2021

Fan said the Gender Equality in Employment Act should be amended after competing bills resulted in legislative gridlock, prompting Legislative Speaker You Si-kun to conduct negotiations with the Cabinet and lawmakers.

Paid leave for pregnancy checkups under current labour legislations is inadequate for the needs of child-rearing needs in Taiwan – an issue that family rights advocates have long complained about, Fan said.

She said while the government has increased paid pregnancy checkup leave from five days to seven and extended National Health Insurance coverage from 10 checkups to 14, the changes put the entire burden of childrearing on women.

She argued that spouses of pregnant employees should be entitled to seven days of paid leave to allow couples to go for checkups together and to cover other aspects of prenatal care that are not strictly medical, she said.

Parents-to-be need time to prepare for a birth, educate themselves about childcare and emotionally support each other, Fan said.

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The proposed amendment would cost NT$400 million (US$14.46 million), or less than 0.4% of the government’s budget for policies addressing the nation’s ageing population, she said.

Nevertheless, the government already considers childrearing an issue that concerns the public interest, so using state funding for prenatal family leave should not pose legislative hurdles, Fan said, according to Taipei Times.