Taiwan revises laws on sexual harassment

Recent amendments require small businesses and companies with a staff size of 10 to 30 to establish mechanisms for reporting sexual harassment incidents, closing a previous exemption


Taiwan has recently made significant amendments to three of its laws dealing with sexual harassment. The decision came in response to a series of #MeToo allegations that surfaced in June, aiming to tackle the concerns raised by the recent cases of sexual violence in Taiwan.

The resurgence of Taiwan’s #MeToo movement occurred in May after a young woman accused film director Hsueh Chao-hui of groping her and subjecting her to unwelcome sexual advances. The woman publicly shared her experience, stating that she was determined not to let the incident go unaddressed, drawing inspiration from a line in the Taiwanese TV show named Wavemakers. 

With these lines, during a special legislative session, the approved modification introduced more severe penalties and extended the time period for victims to report incidents to authorities. 

As per the new laws, Taiwan has established three distinct laws to handle sexual harassment issues, each pertaining to different settings: one for workplaces, another for schools, and a third that applies outside of these two domains.

Regarding the workplace law, employers who neglect to address the complaints related to sexual harassment will be fined up to 1 million new Taiwan dollars (NTD) ($31,680). Additionally, employers are also obligated to report such cases to the local division of the labour department.

In the context of the education law, the legislation explicitly prohibited educators from engaging in romantic relationships with students under the age of 18. Furthermore, principals and teachers who fail to promptly report a sexual harassment allegation to the ministry of education within 24 hours will be fined.

Apart from aforementioned changes, the legislation has also extended the maximum penalty for sexual harassment to three years of imprisonment under the sexual harassment prevention act. The most severe fine for offenders has been increased to 600,000 NTD ($19,000).

The recent amendments also address specific gaps in the regulations. For instance, they now mandate that small businesses and companies with a staff size ranging from more than 10 to less than 30, must establish mechanisms for reporting sexual harassment incidents. Previously, small businesses were exempt from this obligation. 

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