At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang received a briefing from the Ministry of Education on updated measures to tackle the nation's low birth rate. To achieve the objectives of the government's national child care policy for ages 0-6, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Welfare have proposed refinements to existing measures relating to childrearing allowances and child care subsidies, remuneration for child care center employees and preschool teachers, and the provision of child care facilities. These measures will be implemented beginning January 2023, for which NT$5.5 billion (US$171.3 million) of additional funding will be allocated from next year's general budget, the premier said.
In recent years, the government's policies for dealing with Taiwan's low birth rate have extended greater support and provided additional allowances that span from pregnancy through childrearing, and created a more friendly environment for child care and education. The government continues to explore a range of ideas so that it can do more to help families with raising children, the premier said.
The latest refinements to the government's measures to tackle the nation's low birth rate eliminate means-testing of childrearing allowances and child care subsidies, thereby extending support to the greatest number of families. This means that families who pay 20% or more in income tax are now eligible to apply for childrearing allowances and child care subsidies.
To ensure more secure and steadfast employment for child care and education staff, starting monthly salaries will be raised from NT$28,000 (US$872) to NT35,000 (US$1,090) for personnel in public child care services, and from NT$28,000 (US$872) or NT$29,000 (US$903) to as much as NT$36,000 (US$1,121) for personnel in quasi-public child care and schools. Monthly education allowances for public and private educare givers will also be raised from NT$900 (US$28) to NT$2000 (US$62).
To encourage child care providers and infant care centers to improve their facilities and equipment, annual reward grants per person will be more than doubled from NT$5,000 (US$156) to NT$12,000 (US$374). Quasi-public infant care centers will also receive additional subsidies ranging from NT$400,000 (US$12,458) to NT$800,000 (US$24,916) to facilitate installation of equipment such as flame-proof flooring and cloud backup monitoring devices.
Premier Su emphasized that the government's budget for response measures against declining birth rates has jumped from over NT$15 billion (US$467.2 million) in 2016 to more than NT$80 billion (US$2.5 billion) in 2022, and next year's budget is planned to exceed NT$100 billion (US$3.1 billion). The premier hopes the government's broad range of approaches can lighten the burden of childrearing for families with children.