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For most new mothers, parental leave not for them: poll

2011/05/06 22:33:07

Taipei, May 6 (CNA) Up to three-quarters of Taiwan's career womeneligible to apply for parental leave do not apply to take advantageof the option, a poll conducted by a manpower agency has found.

Only 26 percent of Taiwan's women in the workplace had appliedfor parental leave compared with 74 percent who had not, according tothe results of a poll released by the 1111 job bank on Friday aheadof Mother's Day on May 8.

The major reasons cited by the 74 percent for not pursuingparental leave were fears of affecting their chances at a promotion(50.32 percent) , economic stress (48.38 percent) and worries aboutaffecting scheduled work (44.48 percent), the survey found.

Among respondents without children or those with children overthree years of age, 77 percent said the parental leave option wouldnot encourage them to have more children.

The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) contended, however, that thenumbers told a different story.

After implementing a program in May 2009 to subsidize workingmothers on paid parental leave with children younger than 3 yearsold, the number of applicants surged to 34,218 in 2010, according tofigures compiled by the CLA.

Government employees were not included in the number.

The strong response indicated that a subsidy of 60 percent of theapplicant's salary did encourage more career women to take parentalleave, the CLA said.

In response to widespread concerns among Taiwanese women overtaking parental leave, the council said the worries are not warrantedbecause parental leave rights are fully guaranteed in the GenderEmployment Equality Act.

Companies violating the law or discriminating against pregnantwomen are subject to fines of between NT$10,000 (US$350) andNT$100,000, the council said.

(By C. C. Wu and Flor Wang)
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