30 Years of Labor Standards Act for a Continuous Protection of Labor Rights

  • Last Modify Date:2017-03-30

The Labor Standards Act (the “Act”) is a legislation that provides the minimum protection standards for working conditions, strengthens employee-employer relationships, and promotes social and economic development. The Act was promulgated on July 30, 1984, and took effect on August 1 the same year; this year marks its 30th anniversary. The Act was amended several times in response to social changes since it was enacted, including expanding its applicable scope, allowing for more flexible working hours, reforming the pension system, revising penal provisions, and expanding protection to child workers. At present, roughly 8.18 million workers or 94.3% of the workforce is applicable to the Act.

Since the Ministry of Labor (MOL) announced the types of businesses (or industries) and workers that were not included in the Act at the end of 1998, a review mechanism was started to expand the applicable scope of the Act, so as to ensure the working conditions of all employees are protected. Industries that can be applied to the Act are made applicable to the Act, gradually expanding the Act’s applicable scope. The MOL will continue to review and expand the Act’s applicable scope so that the labor conditions and rights of even more workers can be protected.

The MOL stressed that enforcing the Act has always been a key point of its administration. Each year, the MOL conducts inspections of labor conditions according to the labor inspection policy to ensure that business entities abide by the Act and provide legal labor conditions and environment to their workers. Furthermore, upon receiving a complaint, the MOL will immediately conducts an inspection for violations. In addition to demanding an immediate improvement, violators are forwarded to their respective local competent authorities of labor administration to impose the appropriate penalty, thereby protecting labor rights and interests.

As national income and the economy have grown, the amount of fines stipulated in the Act’s penal provision is also raised to increase employers’ liability. The competent authority is now allowed to publish the name of the business entity, proprietor or person-in-charge. Also, fines may be cumulated per violation in the event the employer fails to rectify within the specified period. The MOL calls on employers to observe the law to avoid any violations.

The MOL indicated that since the Act has been in effect for 30 years, the most urgent task at hand is to review and establish reasonable working hours that satisfy the needs of both employees and employers, especially when work-life balance has become a major international trend. The MOL will co-organize 30 sessions of the “Reasonable Working Hours Forum” with national labor and employer organizations. The forum will widely gather the opinions of labor and employer organizations, and the MOL will draft an amendment to reduce working hours in hopes of achieving two-day off week within the shortest amount of time.

The MOL reiterated that the Act provides the minimum protection standards for working conditions, and employees and employers should seek better working conditions on this basis. The MOL also called on employers to make efforts to increase the income of its employees, because a flexible, safe and stable working environment is assurance of an enterprise’s sustainability.

  • News From:Department of Standards and Equal Employment
  • Publish Date:2014-08-06
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