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Cabinet passes work-hour bill amid labor protest

2017/11/09 13:26:17

Premier Lai Ching-te (center)

Taipei, Nov. 9 (CNA) A controversial bill aimed at allowing "flexible" use of work hours was approved by the Cabinet Thursday amid protests outside the Executive Yuan by labor unions blasting the government for backsliding on labor rights.

One of the major revisions in the Cabinet-sponsored amendment to the Labor Standard Act (勞動基準法) is a change to the current rule that stipulate one mandatory day off and one flexible rest day per week and bars employees from working more than six consecutive days.

The amendment allows employees to work 12 days in a row once they take a mandatory day off either side of the 12-day period.

It further stipulates that a business sector proposing such a change must seek the consent of the government agency supervising the sector and approval from the Ministry of Labor, while an individual enterprise needs to secure the consent of workers or labor unions.

At a press conference following the Cabinet meeting, Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said the rule relaxation and other revisions were designed to give employers and employees more "flexibility" in arranging work schedules and thereby boost the economy.

Even after the amendments to the Labor Standard Act, the five day work week remains law, Lai said. Allowing employees to work 12 days in a row will still remain an "exception" to the rule, Lai said.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)