Government values labors’ rights to voice concerns, continual communication and clarification to labor organizations

  • Last Modify Date:2015-05-31

On Labor Day, May 1, labor organizations staged a street demonstration and petitioned at the Ministry of Labor to voice their concern over several issues, including “protect labor conditions and reduce statutory working hours to protect labor livelihood,” “oppose free trade and flexible labor,” “comprehensive three labor laws to protect labor union autonomy,” “no cutbacks on retirement benefits to ensure decent life after retirement,” “oppose improper financial merging to protect the asset of the people,” “stop the release of state-owned stocks and oppose the privatization of state-owned enterprises,” and “incorporate labor legislations in compulsory education textbooks.” In response to the labor organizations’ concerns, MOL stated that the government values the opinion of the people, and will respond appropriately and actively to any suggestions or opinions that are beneficial to improving labor rights and benefits.

With respect to concerns on “protecting labor conditions and reducing statutory working hours to protect labor livelihood,” the MOL will take into account the overall economic and social situation of the country and continue to review basic wage to ensure that basic livelihood of marginal labors is protected. The MOL will also endeavor to facilitate social dialogue toward a consensus on reducing working hours so that the goal of a five-day work week can be reached. The MOL will, at the end of this year, propose a plan to adjust the statutory working hours. Next year, amendment will be drafted to include regulations on scheduled holidays, national holidays, overtime work, and breaks. For labors who are not covered under the Labor Standard Acts, the MOL will continue to review each category of work and each industry separately so that they are also under the scope of protection of labor legislations. Furthermore, to maintain workplace safety, the MOL has concrete objectives to increase labor inspection manpower to international standards so as to strengthen labor inspection work and ensure that employers are abiding to labor legislations. 

Since economic and trades in Taiwan are highly internationally interdependence, industrial structure is mainly geared toward international OEM, and service industry lacks economic magnitude, it is necessary to maintain the dynamicity of labor market to ensure employment opportunity for labors. Therefore, to address “opposition to free trade and flexible labor,” MOL stated that the Dispatch Labor Protection Act is being drafted to protect the employment and wage security of dispatched labors, and to also prevent employers from exploiting dispatched labor. The MOL reinstated that employment requirements and the applicability of labor legislations are the same for labors inside and outside the free economic pilot zone. Also, since employment in the free economic pilot zone is not available to the people of China, the free economic pilot zone does not have any effect on the employment rights of Taiwanese. Labors who are concerned over the impacts of free trade and the Cross-Straits Agreement on Trade in Services on employment may take advantage of the MOL-ECFA Service that the MOL has set up a specific website for information on service measures and telephone consultation.

With respect to demand for “comprehensive three labor laws to protect labor union autonomy,” the MOL is looking into the possibility of a temporary rights protection of an adjudication mechanism for improper labor acts to protect the autonomy of labor unions and collective labor rights. With respect to existing regulations prohibiting teachers from having strikes, the MOL has formed an amendment committee to look into the possibility of lifting such ban. However, such changes would require the majority consensus of the public. Furthermore, with respect to public sector related labor unions having to acquire approval prior to signing a collective agreement, the MOL reassured that such provision is being reviewed and international practices are being taken into consideration for the drafting of approval guidelines and administrative remedial measures. 

With respect to concerns on “cutbacks on retirement benefits and decent life after retirement,” the MOL stated that to ensure the sustainability of the labor insurance annuity system, the Executive Yuan has stipulated in the Labor Insurance Act amendments that the government will be responsible for final liability for payment and allocating annual budget into the pension fund. These amendments are now at the Legislative Yuan for further review. Also, the Labor Standards Act is being amended so that priority of claims and first collateral rights are parallel for labor pension and severance pay. This amendment is now being reviewed at the Executive Yuan. The MOL encourages labors to select the choice retirement investment plan which would give them the option of personal contribution to the pension system. With the tax credits the government provided, choosing a suitable plan would help labors to plan for their retirement early on and increase their income after retirement. If labors do not wish to participate in the choice retirement investment plan, they may still put their personal contribution into their individual accounts at the Labor Insurance Bureau; this would not affect their rights in anyway. 

With respect to advocates on “opposing improper financial merging to protect the asset of the people” and “stopping the release of state-owned stocks and opposing the privatization of state-owned enterprises,” the MOL stated that to minimize the sense of uncertainty employees have over a merger or privatization, the government encourages enterprises to negotiate and communicate fully with the labors at the time of merging on labor benefits such as work placement and labor conditions. Enterprises should enter into negotiation and communication under the principle of trust with labors and their unions, and that labor rights should not be sacrificed for the merger. The MOL will provide needed assistance when necessary. 

In response to request to “incorporate labor legislations in compulsory education textbooks,” the MOL indicated that in view of a globalized market, more importance is now placed on employment rights and work ethics, therefore it is with no delay that labor education be enrooted in our education. The MOL is already drafting a Labor Education Act to incorporate the concept of decent work in school curriculum.

  • News From:Department of General Planning
  • Publish Date:2014-05-05
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