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Amendments to three gender equality laws


In recent months, numerous accounts of sexual harassment from all walks of society have driven the growing Me Too movement in Taiwan. The Executive Yuan responded by approving draft amendments to the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act, Act of Gender Equality in Employment, and Gender Equity Education Act, which subsequently passed their third and final readings in late July 2023 in the Legislative Yuan. Placing the protection of victims front and center, the amendments aim to impose effective penalties for perpetrators; create comprehensive, victim-friendly rights protections and services; and establish dependable, professional systems to combat sexual harassment.

Key changes

Impose effective penalties for perpetrators: Create new categories with heavier penalties for perpetrators who abuse positions of power to commit sexual harassment. Broaden the Gender Equity Education Act's scope to apply to the military, police, and juvenile reformatory schools, and enable the competent government authority to handle incidents where the perpetrator is an employer. Add a new civil compensation penalty with an up to fivefold increase in severity for employers and others who abuse power to commit sexual harassment. For administrative penalties, create a new fine of NT$10,000 to NT$1 million (US$320 to US$32,010) for perpetrators who are employers, maintain the cap on standard fines for sexual harassment at NT$100,000 (US$3201) and raise the cap on fines for power-based sexual harassment to NT$600,000 (US$19,206). Impose up to 50% heavier criminal sentences for power-based sexual harassment. Strengthen mechanisms for external supervision and filing external complaints.

Create comprehensive, victim-friendly rights protections and services: Codify additional legal measures for protection and assistance of victims and improve confidentiality regulations. Extend the statute of limitations for filing sexual harassment claims, with special extensions for individuals who left their job, were in an unequal power relationship or were minors. 

Establish dependable, professional systems to combat sexual harassment: In severe circumstances, temporarily suspend or adjust job duties of persons involved in harassment cases should they hold positions of higher organizational authority, ensuring a fair and independent investigation process. Set up a personnel database to train and select members of the investigative team of the Gender Equality Committee of the Executive Yuan, ensuring their professional ability and awareness of gender equality issues. Introduce resources from non-governmental organizations, authorizing civil society professionals or groups to provide support in investigations.

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