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Gender Equality Pay Policy delivered by Taipei City Government Mayor Kao

The “Equal Pay Day” originated the “Red Purse Campaign”, where women carried red purses in the street. It was initiated by the International Business and Professional Women’s Foundation in 1988. The red color stands for the negative number. The “Equal Pay Day” tried to reflect that the female who wants to reach the average income of the male needed to work extra days. The purpose of the campaign was to raise people’s awareness on the issue of the gender pay gap, to urge equality in professional fields and to reduce the gender pay gap.

     For raising public awareness, the Ministry of Labor every year releases data for the equal pay day campaign. According to the “investigation on employee’s wages” conducted by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) of the Executive Yuan, the average hourly pay in 2016 for females was NT$264.6, which was 86.0% of the male’s at NT$307.7. The pay gap between the genders was 14%, which was 0.5% less than 2015. In other words, a female needs to work 52 days more in order to make the same yearly salary ( 14% X 365 days = 51.1 days). Consequently, in 2017 the “Equal Pay Day” fell on February 21, which was an improvement of 2 days compared to the previous year, February 23, 2016.

     Taiwan has been facing a crisis of labor deficiencies, low birthrate and an ageing population. There are two factors behind this situation: decreasing participation of females in the workforce and low birth rates. According to the survey data of the women’s marriage and their employments, conducted in October of 2016 by the DGBAS, it showed that the rate of resignation of married women is 29.92%. The main reason of their resignations is to prepare for having a baby.

     The reinstatement rate after resignation is 51.1%, and the average reinstating interval span is approximately 6.1 years or 72.95 months. The resignation rate of married women, who are pregnant with their first baby, is 24.99%. The main reason of their resignations is to take care of their babies. The reinstatement rate of those who had quit their jobs because of having a baby is 55.57%. The interval of reinstatement averaged 5.5 years or 65.11 months. It showed that some employed women can’t avoid resigning from their jobs due to “marriage and children” as well as “taking care of elders and kids in the family”. This has caused the female employment to plunge after 35 years of age.

     In view of the social trend, national development and fewer child births, the government is expected to address these issues. Accordingly, we, the Taipei City Government are promoting the “Gender Equal Pay” policy, which starts with two strategies to solve these issues. Firstly, we promote a policy of “reaching a balance between work and family” based on establishing a “community childcare center” with minor childcare services, widely setting up non-profit kindergartens and offering after school programs in order to assist younger parents in alleviating their burdens of raising their children and taking care of their families as well as their occupational development.

     Employees are the important assets of enterprises. The next generation is a competitive era for talented employees. According to the WEF, the report showed that developing woman’s capabilities and leadership skills are the keys for affecting the national prosperity in the future. Therefore, we counsel the business entities with a 100 employees or more to offer childcare services.

     Our Department of Labor acts as the coordinator to facilitate taking care of small children and to integrate the resources of each related department to establish a special project team for promoting childcare facilities in the enterprises. Besides the annual promotion and labor inspection of special projects, we are subject to “Implementation measures to subsidize employers to set up a Breastfeeding Room and Childcare Facilities”, in which we encourage employers with a budget subsidy to manage the childcare welfare matter. Concerning the workplace environment, setting up a friendly childcare space should be significant.

     Secondly, we try to break through the cultural misunderstandings at the workplace and implement a policy of equal pay for equal work policy. The job only for a specific gender is an obstacle for women’s development in their jobs, which causes women to be limited only to do a job stereotypically considered for their gender. The women stereotype in the society also causes issues for women to be promoted. However this gender isolation is not reasonable. We are proposing three strategies, “advocating better awareness for gender equality”, “Caring and Counseling” and “Enforcing the Labor Inspection Law”, to improve the issue of gender discrimination at the workplace. This aims to protect and maintain labor rights and benefits, to encourage enterprises in opening gender equality courses as well as occupational cultivation for women. The employers are encouraged to take advantage of women’s gender specific abilities, such as multitasking capabilities, and are expected to be concerned for their employees and experiences sharing and communications.

     In the current environment where the economy changes quickly, the strategy has to be constantly adjusted. The unique characteristics of woman’s adaption and duration are advantageous for them in supervisory positions. Granting promotion to outstanding women is a positive development to the management and accomplishment for enterprises.

     We will continuously promote the policy of gender equality pay. It is expected the annual wage gap between the two genders of 2018 to be constantly decreasing. It is urged that the issue of gender equality pay should be highly regarded by our central government. Raising the transparency of salary in labor markets, improving the low salary situation, breaking through the stereotypical impression of genders, decreasing the gender isolation at the workplace, improving the philosophy of gender equality and decreasing the obstacles before women who want to be dedicated in the workplace; these are recommended so that employees can enjoy equal rights and equal pays at their workplaces. Moreover enterprises can keep more outstanding talents and raise the production ability. It will help the nation become a  new dynamic power.