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Premier sticks to proposed labor law revisions

2017/11/28 21:10:24

Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德)

Taipei, Nov. 28 (CNA) Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said Monday the Cabinet's proposed amendments to the labor law will make work rules more flexible for both employers and employees.

A previous revision of the labor law that went into effect at the beginning of this year stipulates that all employees get one fixed day off per week plus one flexible day which can be negotiated for overtime.

However, the revision drew protests from businesses and workers for its lack of flexibility, Lai said in an interview with CNA, citing a poll showing that 66 percent of employees believe there are problems with the current "rigid" five-day workweek rules.

The current work hour policy that bars employees from working more than six consecutive days without a break and raises overtime pay rates has not only made it difficult for businesses to operate and manage their employees' shifts but also discouraged employers from asking employees to work on flexible rest days and therefore taken overtime away from them, Lai said.

"How can a premier turn a blind eye to this?" Lai asked, adding that the Cabinet has submitted a revised amendment bill to the Labor Standards Act to address the issues.

The new version will make it possible for employees to work 12 days in a row, by taking their "mandatory" day off per week either side of the 12-day period.

The bill maintains the eight-hour work day, 40-hour work week policy and the method for calculating overtime pay as well as the principle of granting employees two days per week, Lai said.

The new revisions will enable employees working on flexible rest days to earn overtime pay, while guaranteeing employees' legal right to rest, according to Lai.

Meanwhile, the amendment will also allow employers to reduce the rest period between shifts for employees, currently set at a minimum of 11 hours, to as few as eight hours if they receive the consent of workers or labor unions, Lai added.

The bill is being reviewed by the Legislative Yuan, Lai said, adding that he hopes it will clear the legislative floor as soon as possible.

(By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao)