In order to arouse public awareness of equal pay between genders, the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) has declared March 5th the national “Equal Pay Day”, a few days before International Women''s Day. The CLA expects that all stakeholders in society to strive for narrowing down the gender wage gap.
The “Equal Pay Day” is a new idea to the public in Taiwan. Wang Ju-Hsuan, the Minister of the CLA, who has devoted herself to feminist movements for a long time before her public service career, indicated that including European countries, the USA, and South Korea, all recognized the Equal Pay Day. The Equal Pay Day in European Union is set on March 2nd and the USA sets April 17th this year. The CLA specifically compiled statistics between genders to figure out the wage gap, and this year March 5th is set as the Equal Pay Day in Taiwan. In other words, female workers in Taiwan have to work 65 more days to receive an equivalent amount of pay as their male coworkers. To convert this into percentile scale, in 2011, the average pay of female workers is 17.6% less than that of male workers. Therefore, in order to arouse different stakeholders in the society to strive for narrowing down the gender wage gap, the CLA published a “2011 Yearbook of Workplace Employment Management and Gender Equality”, and to announce that March 5th is the Equal Pay Day this year.
The yearbook reveals that, a decade since the Act of Gender Equality in Employment enforced in Taiwan, the effects to promote women employment and remove employment obstacles and to establish gender equality working environments have shown progress. Comparing with the first year of implementation in 2002, the ratio of business entities bringing gender equality employment measures into practice has increased. In consequence, employees are able to balance their work and family life. Meanwhile, the proportions of gender-specific standards of wage payment and adjustment are 9.7% and 4.4% respectively. Besides, according to “2011 Employee Earnings Survey” by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, Executive Yuan, the hourly wage of female workers in average is 17.6% less than that of male workers and which reveals that there is still room for improvement in gender wage gap.
During the last four years, the CLA has proactively to promote women employment, protect women’s rights and interests, and create gender-friendly working environments. Major achievements by the government on this regard are the following: to enhance female workers’ labor market participation rate, created more than 100,000 employment opportunities for women; encouraging women to participate in developing social enterprises, deregulating employment regulations to provide employment status for foreign and Mainland Chinese spouses, and to promote their employment; empowering women to start enterprises; widening the payment of maternity benefit and to institutionalize the parental leave; raising the amount of administrative fine for sexual harassment in workplace; and to widen the application scope of parental leave allowances and maternity and family leaves; and to establish a “win-win platform for Taiwan’s workplace”.
In the near future, the CLA has expressed that the focus of female workers’ rights and interests would be on three agendas: to promote employment and enhance women’s labor participation rate; to amend legislations on women’s rights and interests; and to build up friendly working environment and maintain female workers’ physical and psychological well-being. Eight prospective action plans are awaiting to implement, including to enhance female labor participation rates, to narrow down the gender wage gap, to legislate paid family care leaves on typhoon days, to reveal publicly the name of the person in charge who violates the Act of Gender Equality in Employment, to legislate the Act of Domestic Workers Protection, to improve the mechanism of gender employment discrimination in the process of complaints and remedies, to promote employees’ work and life balance, and to facilitate occupational safety and health measures for female workers