Four weddings and a fine: Taiwan couple maximise leave with repeat weddings

TAIPEI: Keen to make the most of a statutory holiday for newlyweds, a couple from Taiwan found a novel way to maximise their honeymoon — by marrying four times in just over a month.

The unusual story, confirmed by Taipei’s Labour Department on Wednesday, is the latest to go viral and highlight innovative, if somewhat bizarre, loophole wrangling by Taiwanese citizens.

Taiwanese companies are legally obliged to offer eight days of paid leave to newlyweds.

But an unnamed bank employee decided to game the system last year, claiming 32 days of leave using a novel ruse.

Over a period of 37 days, he and his wife got married four times and divorced three times, claiming the full eight days for each of their nuptials.

The bank balked and the employee appealed to Taipei city labour department, which initially fined his employer NT$20,000 ($670) for violating the leave regulations.

That was because as far as the law goes, there is currently no restriction on how often an employee can apply for marriage leave.

The bank, which was only willing to offer eight days off, said the man had “abused” the law. 

The case has sparked heated online criticism of the bank employee for taking advantage of legal loopholes and the labour department for issuing the fine. 

“Unbelievable, this guy is like playing house with his marriages and divorces. What if he wants get married and divorced every day? He should be granted sick leave rather than marriage leave,” read one social media post. 

Last week the Labour Department revoked the fine against the bank “to recognise a mistake and improve”, it said in a statement. 

Not to be deterred, the employee, who later quit the bank, has called the Labour Department to complain that his former employer still owes him 24 days of leave, an official who asked not to be named told AFP.

The case has been compared to the so-called “salmon chaos” that swept Taiwan last month when over a hundred people, mostly youngsters, legally changed their given names to “Gui Yu” or salmon. 

Changing one’s name in Taiwan is relatively hassle free and those making the move were taking advantage of a restaurant promotion offering free sushi to anyone with salmon in their name.

Some of the salmon-themed names people chose included “Salmon Prince”, “Salmon Fried Rice” and “Bao Cheng Gui Yu” — literally, Explosive Good Looking Salmon. – AFP

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New Sarawak Tribune is a Sarawakian news portal that highlights Sarawak-centric news and other stories of relevance to Sarawak.

Today, New Sarawak Tribune focuses on happenings in Sarawak’s cities, towns and small places no matter how remote these are and events of relevance in other states of Malaysia and other countries.