President-elect Tsai Ing-wen on Friday expressed support for a proposal from her Democratic Progressive Party to allow legislators to take their babies of up to three years of age with them to work.
The proposal by new lawmaker Karen Yu provoked a variety of reactions, with Premier Simon Chang reportedly calling it “strange” while her DPP colleague Lin Shu-fen proposed the formation of a day-care facility at the Legislative Yuan as a cooperative.
In a statement online, Tsai said she hoped that the new Legislature could point the way and function as a “people’s assembly” by moving forward to improve the workplace environment for parents of small children.
Not only lawmakers, their assistants, reporters and legislative officials needed improvements, but many private citizens also faced barriers at work when they wanted to take good care of their children, Tsai wrote.
Small children were not just the responsibility of their parents, but also needed the support of society at large, according to the president-elect. She listed changes at the workplace as one of the elements needed to prop up Taiwan’s falling birthrate. The problem needed to be solved by taking action, not by offering mere suggestions and words, she said.
Tsai praised Yu’s proposal to amend regulations and allow lawmakers and staff to bring infants to meetings as an important first step forward which was already producing more positive ideas.
Lin said that not only the Legislative Yuan, but also many private enterprises should establish in-house day care centers, with the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Education needing to play a more active role in the matter.