INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Graphics to Explain Taiwan's Childbirth Incentives

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Graphics to Explain Taiwan's Childbirth Incentives
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Deciding to have children doesn't have to be expensive in Taiwan.

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Taiwan has the world’s lowest fertility rate. However, if you and your partner are planning to have children, the government might have your back.

In order to encourage couples to have children, every one of Taiwan’s municipalities has introduced childbirth incentives. This article analyzes the various incentives offered by Taiwan’s counties and cities and points out the details of how these programs differ. It also organizes the details of governmental social insurance schemes that offer a maternity benefit, which are also available to couples who are preparing to have children.

Up until November 2018, the total number of childbirths in Taiwan – population 23.58 million – was only 181,601, with a meager monthly average of about 15,133. This is the second lowest annual total of child births ever documented in the Ministry of the Interior’s records. The worst year was 2010, when there were only 160,684 newborns. However that may have also been related to the fact that it was the Year of the Tiger.

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Many people in Taiwan believe in numerology and are therefore superstitious, so they try to avoid having children in the Year of the Tiger. However, even though the total births increased substantially to 229,481 in the Year of the Dragon (two years later in 2012), that total was still inferior to the Zodiac calendar’s previous Year of the Tiger (1998), when 271,450 people were born.

From 2012 to 2018, the overall birthrate has been on a steady downward trend. In response to the problem of the declining birthrate, county and city governments have recently introduced childbirth incentives or child care subsidies as a way of encouraging people to have children.

The following is the arrangement of childbirth incentives subsidies in all counties and cities. At present, some of the subsidies in the various regions are fixed amounts, so regardless of which number child you are having, the subsidies are the same. However, in other municipalities, the more children you have, the more subsidies you will receive – in some locales, parents can even claim up to NT$100,000 (US$3,238). Pingtung County, meanwhile, only offers child support subsidies to low- and middle-income households.

childbirth_incentives_-_table_1

If you want to apply for the childbirth incentives from a particular county or city, the newborn baby must of course be registered in that municipality. However, there are other areas of regulation where these administrative regions differ slightly.

One of these is the requirement for the parent's household registration. Most municipalities require that at least one parent must be registered in that area for more than one year whereas others only require six months. Wuhu County has the highest minimum requirement – one parent needs to have lived in the area for at least two years.

Another regulation that differs is the application time limit. In some areas, you are required to apply within 60 days after the birth of your child. In Kinmen County, however, you are given up to eight months after birth.

The following are the requirements for each municipality:

childbirth_incentives_-_table_2

In addition to the childbirth subsidies offered by the municipalities, there are three social insurances that couples can apply to for a maternity benefit: Labor insurance, farmer health insurance and national pension insurance. The payout from each of them is twice the amount of whatever you have invested.

childbirth_incentives_-_fig_2

Of these three insurances, two of them (labor and national pension insurance) can only be applied for by the mother. However, both parents can apply for the farmer health insurance – just not at the same time. Therefore, different application situations may occur due to which insurances the parents are covered by.

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In most cases, the newborn baby’s parents can only receive benefits from one of the social insurances, and they can be divided into the following situations:

  • The mother has national pension insurance, while the father has farmer health insurance: This couple can only choose to receive one of the benefits, not both.
  • The mother has national pension insurance, while the father has labor insurance or national pension insurance: They can only apply for the national pension insurance through the mother.
  • The mother has farmer health insurance: Regardless of whether the father is insured, the couple can only apply through the mother’s farmer health insurance.
  • The mother has labor insurance, and the father has farmer health insurance: This is the only combination where both parents can apply for maternity benefits at the same time.

Therefore, we advise any couples who are expecting a child this year (2019) to pay attention to the above regulations. Even though these benefits don’t really amount to too much, in this modern economy where the rise in inflation far outweighs the increase in salaries, they are not something to be sniffed at.

Read Next: Taiwan's Pursuit of Happiness: Can We Trust the World Happiness Report?

This article first appeared on the Chinese-language Taiwan edition of The News Lens and can be found here.

Translator: Zeke Li

Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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