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240,000 take parental leave allowance

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- About 240,000 people have benefited from parental leave allowance since its introduction in 2009, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said yesterday.

Parental leave allowance is accessible to new parents who have enrolled in the employment insurance program for at least one year. The government will provide 60 percent of the new parent's monthly salary for six months.

Monthly allowances averaged NT$17,000. Applicants received allowances for 5.18 months on average, totaling NT$88,060. The MOL said over 60,000 parents applied for the allowance last year.

According to MOL statistics, up to 239,547 people have applied for the allowance over the past five years, with total allowance payouts exceeding NT$20.5 billion. About 83 percent of applicants were women. The majority of recipients were mothers aged between 30 and 34 years old. The data shows that a total of 3,984 couples applied for the allowance, comprising 7,968 people among total applicants.

According to regulations, allowances may be paid to those whose children are less than three years old. While both parents are eligible for an allowance, they may not apply and receive allowance at the same time.

Allowance was also paid out to several elderly citizens. Statistics show that 28 males aged between 55 and 59 applied for the allowance, and five males aged between 60 and 64 applied for the allowance. The oldest male applicant was a 64-year-old father, while the oldest female applicant was a 54-year-old mother.

Due to age restrictions on child bearing, there were no females aged over 55 that applied for the allowance. There were 156 mothers aged between 50 and 54 who did apply.

According to the Labor Standards Act, employees who apply for parental leave have the right to return to their jobs the MOL said, adding that employers may be in breach of the law if they fail to ensure employment for parents.

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