The Ministry of Labor issued the Lao-Dong-Tiao-Four-1070130162 Circular of February 12, 2018 (hereinafter, the “Circular”) to communicate that if employees raise twin (multiple birth) children and need to take care of them personally, they may still apply for leave without pay even if their spouses are not employed.
Article 16, Paragraph 1 of the Law of Gender Equality in Employment provides: “After being in service for six months, employees may apply for parental leave without pay before any of their children reaches the age of three, provided that the leave shall not exceed two years. In addition, if at least two children are raised at the same time, the period of the parental leave shall be combined and be limited to two years for raising the youngest child.” In addition, Article 22 of the same law provides: “If the spouse of an employee is not employed, the provisions of Articles 16 and 20 shall not apply, provided that this shall not apply in case of justified reasons.” With respect to the latter provision, although the unemployed spouse of an employee should be able to take care of the family and the employee is not required to take unpaid parental leave or family care leave to take care of the baby, still the proviso stipulates that the employer may grant the leave application in case of justified reasons. As for “justified reasons,” this should be determined by the facts of individual cases.
It is clearly indicated in the Circular for employees who raise twin (multiple birth) children, even if their spouses are not employed, still in view of the fact that a parent probably is unable to single-handedly take care of twin (multiple birth) children, if employees need to take care of twin (multiple birth) children in person, when they apply for unpaid parental leave to their employers, this shall be deemed a “justified reason” in the proviso of Article 22 of the Law for Gender Equality in Employment and the leave may be granted on an exceptional basis.