Dispatched workers have often been derogated as “disposable chopsticks” or “PET bottles” and sometimes even considered one of the main causes of low wages in the country. However, it is a fact that many enterprises use them to reduce personnel costs. For this reason, the MOL began to study the feasibility of establishing a set of regulations to protect the interests of dispatched workers while at the same time ensure that enterprises would pay higher personnel costs for dispatched labor than hiring their own employees when they make use of such flexible human resources. The objectives were to “suppress quantities with price raises” to cut down on use of dispatched workers in the labor market and improve the phenomenon of dispatched workers being regarded “cheap labor.”
The main concerns about dispatched employment have been whether dispatch workers are being exploited with low wages or given discriminatory treatment; whether there is enough protection for their creditor’s rights (owned wages or compensation for occupational accident); whether they are treated as second-class workers at places there are assigned to and disallowed equal access to facilities and equipment and employment information; and whether they are unreasonably used for a long period without given the opportunity of becoming full-time employees. In the meantime, should “registration-based dispatch” exist in Taiwan and allow dispatched workers to be denigrated by the media as “disposable chopsticks” or “PET bottles?” All the above were issues to be addressed when the MOL tried to draw up the Dispatched Worker Protection Act. Apparently, this special law would have to include the principles of adoption of long-term dispatch systems (fixed-term contracts between employers and dispatched workers would be forbidden), definition of the joint-employer responsibility of using units (work hour regulation and other working conditions set forth in the Labor Standards Act, regulations against discrimination set forth in the Employment Service Act and regulations on gender equality and against sexual harassment set forth in the Act of Gender Equality in Employment), protection of dispatched workers’ core creditor’s rights (joint responsibility for occupational accident compensation and supplementary responsibility for arrear wages), protection of the right to equal treatment for dispatched workers (equal work for equal pay, equal access to facilities and employment information), reasonable limitation of dispatched labor (establishment of the negative list and upper limit of total dispatched labor), and registration and control of labor dispatch operations.
The regulations on establishment of the negative list and upper limit of total dispatched labor that have aroused public concern have to be included mainly because a number of types of work are closely related to public safety and interest. After consulting with the competent authorities of various industries, it has been determined that dispatch workers may not be hired to replace six types of workers (medical personnel, security guards, aviation crew members, merchant marine crew members, public passenger transport drivers and miners) and other types of workers announced by the central competent authority. Although this special law will increase the costs and limitations of use of dispatched workers, the MOL has yet to ensure overuse of dispatched workers by different enterprises can be prevented so that the number of dispatched workers will not continue to escalate. Therefore, the MOL has referred to the 2013 Manpower Utilization Survey conducted by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics. The said survey indicated that the number of “temporary or dispatched workers” accounted for 5.39% of the total number of employed workers. Meanwhile, the 2011 Industry, Commerce and Service Census revealed that the number of dispatched workers was 131 thousand, making up 1.64% of the total number of employed workers. Based on these statistics, the MOL has therefore concluded that the total number of dispatched workers to be used by each using units may not exceed 3% of its total number of employed workers.
To ensure that dispatched workers can work in safer environment, the MOL started in 2013 to push for the legislation of a special law. The draft Dispatched Worker Protection Act was reviewed and approved on Aug. 23, 2013 by the Legal Affairs Committee of the then Council of Labor. However, as some of the provisions still required perfection, the draft was not presented to be reviewed by the Council of Labor Committee at the time. After consulting many scholars and specialists, holding several meetings with dispatched workers, visiting a number of business organizations and labor unions and carefully assessing the benefits and effects of the bill, the MOL finally presented the draft on Feb. 6, 2014 to be reviewed by the Council of Labor Committee. The Committee approved the draft and it was then presented on Feb. 12 to be reviewed by the Executive Yuan. Many legislators, labor unions and dispatched workers have been highly concerned about the legislative progress of the Dispatched Worker Protection Act and hoped that the MOL can complete the legislation as early as possible.
The government cannot overlook the fact that labor dispatch exists and there is not enough protection for dispatched workers. Some labor organizations are strongly against the enactment of the Dispatch Worker Protection Act, but the government, considering protection of dispatched workers its responsibility, will do its best to communicate with concerned parties to ease their misgivings. It is hoped that all sectors can work together to complete the legislation of the Dispatched Worker Protection Act for the rights and interests of dispatched workers and all workers in Taiwan.
- News From：Department of Employment Relations
- Publish Date：2014-07-24
- Hit Rate：23419