- Last Modify Date:2020-04-29
If a worker contracts COVID-19 owing to performing his/her job duties, the employer shall grant the worker occupational injury leave or sick leave and pay the worker compensation equivalent to his/her existing wage. If the infected worker dies, or is disabled, injured, or sick due to COVID-19, the employer shall pay the worker compensation in accordance with the provisions regarding occupational injury in the Labor Standards Act. If a worker contracts COVID-19 due to non-occupational reasons, the worker is allowed to take his/her usual injury or sick leave, annual paid leave, or personal leave when he/she undergoes quarantine or treatment.
If a worker has not contracted COVID-19, but is in a condition where he/she is not allowed to go out for work as he/she has to undergo home isolation, home quarantine, centralized isolation, or centralized quarantine owing to travel to pandemic areas or having been in contact with those with the disease, or he/she is unable to work due to having to care for self-isolated or self-quarantined people who cannot take care of themselves, the worker may take "quarantine leave" in accordance with the provisions of Article 3, Paragraph 3 of the Special Act on COVID-19 Prevention, Relief and Restoration. The employer shall grant the worker such quarantine leave, and may not regard the leave as absence from work or force the worker to take personal leave or other types of leave instead. In addition, the employer may not withhold the perfect attendance bonus from the worker, dismiss the worker, or take other unfavorable measures against the worker for taking quarantine leave. The aforementioned rule shall also apply to a worker when the worker's family members take leave to care for those who are put under isolation or quarantine but are not able to take care of themselves.
In addition, if a worker is requested by the competent health authority to conduct self-health monitoring, he/she can take their usual injury or sick leave, annual paid leave, or personal leave or reach an agreement with the employer on adjusting work hours when the worker chooses to stay home for recuperation. However, if the employer is concerned about the attendance of a worker who is self-monitoring his/her health conditions and asks the worker not to come to the office, the employer shall still pay the worker wage because the employer delays accepting the services.
If a worker has to personally care for family members who are sick or requested to conduct self-health monitoring, the worker shall be entitled to take family care leave in accordance with the Act of Gender Equality in Employment, as well as take annual paid leave or personal leave. The number of days of family care leave taken by a worker shall be incorporated into the worker's personal leave and shall not exceed seven days in one year. Both parents may separately take such leave pursuant to the aforementioned provision, and employers may not refuse to grant such leave. In addition, employers may not regard the leave as absence from work, and the worker's perfect attendance bonus and performance appraisal shall not be impacted, nor shall other unfavorable measures be taken against the worker.
Keywords: COVID-19 leave, COVID-19 wages, quarantine leave
In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) will accept extra applications for the Tuition Fee Subsidies for Children of Unemployed Workers for the second semester of the 2019-20 academic year from April 15 to May 31, 2020.
To reduce the financial burden of children's tuition fees on involuntarily unemployed workers from the industries impacted by the pandemic, so as to take care of the livelihoods of these workers, the MOL will accept extra applications for the Tuition Fee Subsidies for Children of Unemployed Workers for the second semester of the 2019-20 academic year, providing tuition fee subsidies to involuntarily unemployed workers whose children are enrolled in a senior high school, vocational school, college, or university. Applications for tuition fee subsidies may be submitted by any involuntarily unemployed worker whose period of unemployment occurs between January 18 and May 31, 2020, and has been granted unemployment benefits; whose joint total income with his/her spouse in 2018 is less than NT$1.48 million; who has not applied for old-age benefits under labor insurance before May 31, 2020; and whose children are currently officially enrolled in a senior high school, vocational school, college, or university. The subsidy amounts per semester for children of unemployed workers are NT$4,000 for those attending public senior high schools or vocational schools, NT$6,000 for those attending private senior high schools or vocational schools, NT$13,600 for those attending public colleges or universities, and NT$24,000 for those attending private colleges or universities. In addition, unemployed workers who are sole breadwinners of the family (for example workers who are divorced or widowed, or whose spouse cannot work owing to disabilities or major illnesses) or have two or more children in college or university will receive an additional 20% subsidy.
Keywords: Unemployed workers, involuntary unemployment, tuition fee subsidy
To conform with the COVID-19 prevention strategies and prevent foreign workers from traveling to and from high risk places such as medical institutions, so as to help domestic hospitals make the necessary preparations for the pandemic, on March 9, 2020, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) declared that foreign worker regular health examinations that had to be completed on or before May 31, 2020 may be postponed for up to three months, and that the Ministry of Labor (MOL) would help perform outreach activities regarding this matter later.
In accordance with the Regulations Governing Management of the Health Examination of Employed Aliens promulgated by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), employers shall arrange for their foreign workers to undergo health examinations at designated hospitals within three working days following their entry, and within 30 days before or after the days of the 6th, 18th, and 30th months of employment after entry. Employers who do not arrange health examinations for their foreign workers pursuant to the stipulated deadlines shall be fined an amount of NT$60,000 to NT$300,000, and shall have their permit to recruit and hire foreign workers revoked in whole or in part in accordance with the Employment Service Act.
To conform with the domestic prevention measures, the CECC declared that foreign workers who should complete their health examinations on or before May 31, 2020 may postpone their examinations by three months. For instance, workers who should complete regular health examinations on May 31, 2020 may instead complete the health examinations by August 31, 2020. In addition, the MOL reiterated that the CECC had announced that foreign workers who entered Taiwan by transiting through China, Hong Kong, or Macao should complete the entry health examinations within three working days starting from the day after the end date of their 14-day home quarantine. However, the MOL also indicated that if foreign workers did not enter Taiwan via the aforementioned routes, then due to uncertainties about the quality of health examinations in these foreign workers' home countries and the incubation period of the disease, the workers should complete health examinations within three working days following their entry pursuant to the existing regulation.
Keywords: COVID-19, foreign workers, health examination
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Ministry of Labor (OSHA), provides Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 to help employers comply with regulations related to occupational safety and health, and reinforce the capability to prevent the risks of injuries posed by microorganisms, so as to effectively prevent the transmission of coronavirus at workplaces.
The OSHA indicated that owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the OSHA provides specially the Guidance for employers and employees to strengthen prevention measures at workplaces.
The main points are as follows:
I. For Employers
[I] Employers shall set up measures to take employees' body temperatures and conduct screenings, and provide all workers with job-specific training to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 at workplaces. Moreover, employers shall increase ventilation rates in the work environment and have the workplace cleaned and regularly sterilized.
[II] If front-line employees are at risk of exposure to coronavirus, employers shall offer masks to each individual employee and make sure that these employees wear masks.
[III] Employees' health and safety are top priorities. Employers shall avoid assigning employees to overseas regions with level 3 travel notices unless it is absolutely necessary.
[IV] If employees who recently returned from overseas location with widespread COVID-19 transmission, employers shall offer enhanced medical monitoring of workers.
II. For Employees
[I] Employees shall conduct self-health monitoring, diligently wash hands with soap, and refrain from traveling to pandemic areas. If employees feel ill, such as having a fever or coughing, they shall seek medical attention as soon as possible and take the initiative to inform their employers.
[II] If employees are the front-line service staff at public transport stations, on means of transport, or in malls or department stores, they shall wear masks when appropriate according to guidances provided by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
[III] If employees are concerned about the protective measures related to health and safety and the protection of their rights and interests, they may call the toll-free hotline at 1955 to seek assistance.
The OSHA emphasized that employers shall not only conform to the prevention measures stipulated by the CECC, but also take relevant preventive measures according to the Guidance in order to ensure employees' safety and health.
Keywords: COVID-19, occupational safety and health, workplace disease prevention
To help working employees respond to the impact of COVID-19 on stable employment, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) has amended and released the Recharge and Restart Training Program, indicating that the number of subsidized training hours has been raised to 120 hours per month for employees who have had their regular work hours reduced to participate in training courses. Furthermore, the cap on subsidized training expenses has also been raised to NT$3.5 million for businesses that hold training courses.
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the operations of some domestic industries have been impacted. In response, employers of businesses might negotiate a reduction in work hours with employees to sustain operations. To help working employees feel secure about their jobs and fully take advantage of the temporary reduction in work hours to participate in training courses in order to enhance their skills, the MOL has amended the Recharge and Restart Training Program, incorporating matters for the control of communicable diseases stipulated in the Communicable Disease Control Act into the training program and raising subsidies to employees and businesses.
According to the MOL, for employees who participate in training courses during the period when their work hours are reduced amid the pandemic, the cap on subsidized training hours has been raised from 100 to 120 hours per month. Moreover, the amount of training allowance granted to the employees is NT$158 per hour, the same as the current minimum wage per hour. Therefore, these employees may receive a training allowance of up to NT$18,960 per month. To help businesses make use of this period of time to enhance their human capital, the cap of subsidized training expenses granted to businesses that hold training courses has also been raised from NT$1.9 million to NT$3.5 million so that these businesses may take this opportunity to optimize their corporate structure and better position themselves for the future.
If a reduction in work hours is negotiated between labor and management, after reporting the matter to local labor authorities, employees or businesses may dial the toll-free customer hotline number at 0800-777-888 24/7 for consultation services provided by a specially-assigned person, or visit the "TaiwanJobs" website for more related information. Moreover, they may call the branch offices of the Workforce Development Agency under the MOL to understand more information on applications for the training program. After notification by local labor authorities, the Workforce Development Agency will take the initiative to contact businesses which reduce work hours and assist both labor and management with applications for the training program.
Keywords: Reduction in work hours, free training courses for employees, subsidies to businesses to hold training courses
In order to raise public awareness for equal pay, the Ministry of Labor has once again announced Equal Pay Day for this year. Since average salaries for different genders depend on a number of factors such as nature of the job, seniority, academic experience, and job performance, the Ministry is calling on all sectors to work together in narrowing the gender pay gap.
Taiwan's Equal Pay Day is based on the Employee Salary Survey conducted by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics under the Executive Yuan and reflects the number of days women must additionally work in the current year to earn the same amount as men did the previous year. According to the preliminary results of the salary survey, in 2019, women earned an average hourly salary of NT$292, 85.8% of men's hourly rate of NT$340. The gender pay gap was 14.2%. In other words, women needed to work 52 more days (gender pay gap of 14.2% x 365 ≈ 52 days) than men to receive the same total annual salary. Using this formula, it was determined that Equal Pay Day fell on February 21 for 2020.
In the last decade, the gender pay gap for average hourly salaries fell from 17.9% in 2009 to 14.2% in 2019. The extra number of days women have to work has been reduced from 66 days to 52 days. The average gender pay gap decreased 3.7 percentage points or 14 working days. Historically, Taiwan's gender pay gap has been less than that of the United States, Japan and South Korea. In 2019, the gender pay gap in Taiwan was 14.2%, which was lower than Korea's 32.2% (2018), Japan's 32.3% (2018), and the United States' 18.5%.
Keywords: Equal pay day, average hourly rate, gender pay gap
- Source:Department of General Planning
- Publication Date:2020-04-29
- Count Views:4000
- Taiwan Labor E-Newsletter NO.50 pdf