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Taiwan: Requirements for Employers to Obtain Subsidies for Childcare Facilities Eased

(Nov. 4, 2016) It was reported on September 5, 2015, that Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor had relaxed the requirements for employers’ applications for childcare subsidies by amending the Regulations on Breast Feeding/Milk Collection Room and Childcare Facility Measures and Standards and on [Applicable] Subsidies. The purpose of the change is “[t]o help expand and promote corporate childcare services and to encourage employers to provide childcare … .”  (The Ministry of Labor Relaxes the Conditions Required to Apply for Childcare Measures Subsidies — Employers Providing Employees Childcare Subsidies May Be Subsidized up to a Maximum Amount of NT$600,000, Ministry of Labor  Republic of China (Taiwan) website (Sept. 5, 2016); Regulations on Subsidy and Standards for Establishing Breastfeeding (Breast Milk Collection) Rooms, Childcare Facilities and Measures (promulgated Mar. 6, 2002, as amended July 28, 2016), Republic of China Laws & Regulations Database (toggle for Chinese text).)

Formerly, the Regulations had stipulated that to be eligible for subsidies for childcare services, before providing the services to employees an employer had to have an agreement signed with a registered childcare service institution that would provide the services. (The Ministry of Labor Relaxes the Conditions …, supra.)  Under the amended Regulations, as long as the employer gives childcare subsidies for employees’ children under 12 years of age to be looked after in childcare service institutions, the employer can apply to be subsidized; the signed agreement with a childcare services institution is no longer required.  (Id.; Regulations, art. 2 ¶ 4.)  In addition, the maximum subsidy for which employers who have established the breastfeeding rooms and childcare facilities can apply has been increased to up to a maximum of NT$600,000 (about US$19,024) per year, and “there are no restrictions on the size of business entities that are eligible to apply.” (The Ministry of Labor Relaxes the Conditions …, supra; Regulations, art. 4(3).)

The authorizing provision for the Regulations is article 23 of the Act of Gender Equality in Employment, also amended recently (in May 2016), which states that employers are to provide breastfeeding (breast milk collection) rooms and childcare facilities or suitable childcare measures for their employees if they have 100 or more employees, a reduction from the previous threshold of 250, and that the competent authorities will provide subsidies to employers who have set up these rooms and facilities or provided the suitable measures.  (Act of Gender Equality in Employment (promulgated Jan. 16, 2002, as last amended May 18, 2016), art. 23, ¶¶ 1 & 2, Republic of China Laws & Regulations Database (toggle for Chinese text).)

According to the Regulations, the “childcare facilities” referred to in article 23 are defined as “childcare service institutions established individually or jointly by employers,” while “childcare measures” are defined as employers’ contracting, by means of a commission, with childcare service institutions to provide childcare services or providing employees with childcare subsidies. (Regulations, art. 2 ¶¶ 2 & 3, respectively.)

The Ministry of Labor, in coordination with the amended Regulations, reportedly accepted subsidy applications from September 1 to September 20, 2016; business entities wishing to apply could submit the applications “to the relevant local competent authority (Labor or Social Affairs Bureaus or Departments) and submit the electronic application information to the Corporate Childcare and Breastfeeding (Breast Milk Collection) Room Information section of the Ministry of Labor website at the same time.” (The Ministry of Labor Relaxes the Conditions …, supra.)