The Cabinet says it will spend nearly NT$10 billion to boost the country''s birthrate. Starting July 1, a raft of benefits will be available, including increasing the state subsidy for unpaid parental leave from 60% to 80% of the monthly wage as well as four extra free prenatal checkups for moms-to-be, for a total of 14.

Chanting in unison, they call for a rescue plan for Taiwan''s low birthrate. This civic group says the birthrate issue is a full-blown national crisis.

Liu Yu-hsiu
Childcare Policy Alliance
All Taiwan presidents, regardless of party, have said that the birthrate issue is a national security concern.

To make it easier to have children, the Cabinet has approved NT$10 billion worth of benefits.

Its plan will subsidize IVF for more couples. It will also lift state subsidies for unpaid parental leave, raising it from 60 to 80% of the monthly salary. In addition, it will offer couples 14 instead of 10 free prenatal checkups, and provide two additional days of paid leave for that purpose. All private citizens are eligible for the benefits, which have met a warm response from the public.

Member of the public
Of course the more savings the better. Maybe this will make more people want to have kids. Allowing for more OBGYN visits is also better for the babies. This is not bad at all.

But one expert says the plan doesn''t do enough for fathers, who should be allowed to take days off to attend prenatal checkups with their wives.

Tan Yu-jung
Awakening Foundation
It seems like a lot of new fathers don''t really feel like they are father after the baby is born and even when they hold it in their arms. For many years, we have advocated for the government to provide equal leave for both parents for OBGYN visits. That is to say, however many days of paid leave the mother gets, the father should also get.

The Cabinet has also eased rules to let both parents take unpaid family leave at the same time. The new rules, which are aimed at supporting families, will take effect July 1.