Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) The Ministry of Labor (MOL) on Tuesday set this year's Equal Pay Day on Feb. 21, two days earlier than in 2019, based on estimates that Taiwanese women needed to work that far into this year to earn the same amount that men did last year.
The Equal Pay Day is derived from the estimate that women in Taiwan had to work 52 more days on average than men to earn the same income because their salaries were 14.2 percent lower on average than those of male workers in 2019.
The Equal Pay Day for 2018 and 2019 were both set on Feb. 23, meaning women in Taiwan had to work 54 more days than men to make the same annual income because their salaries were 14.6 percent lower on average than those of their male counterparts.
According to the MOL, the average hourly salary for female employees in 2019 was NT$292 (US$9.50), compared with NT$340 for males.
Over the past decade, the average hourly wage gap in the country has been reduced from 17.9 percent in 2009 to 14.2 percent in 2019, translating to a fall from 66 to 52 extra work days for women to achieve the same pay level as men, the ministry said.
Despite the existing differences, Taiwan is relatively advanced in reducing gaps in pay between genders compared with some other countries, according to the ministry.
In 2018, for instance, the pay rate gap between men and women was 32.3 percent in Japan, 32.2 in South Korea, and 18.5 percent in the United States.
Over the past decade, that gap was reduced by 6.7 percentage points in South Korea, 3.7 percentage points in Taiwan, 3.3 percentage points in Japan and 1.3 percentage points in the U.S., according to the ministry.
The Equal Pay Day concept was established in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity in the U.S. with the aim of raising public awareness about the gap between men's and women's wages.
The MOL started to announce an annual Equal Pay Day in 2012.