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Over 54 percent Taiwan public supports labor law amendments: poll

2018/01/07 22:32:02

CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 7 (CNA) More than 54 percent of people in Taiwan are in favor of the proposed amendments to the Labor Standards Act, which deal mainly with work hours and time off, according to a survey published Sunday by Win Win Weekly magazine.

The poll showed that 54.2 percent of the public thinks the labor laws need to be amended, while 88.6 percent would like the law to be based on the needs of the various industries, with the relevant authorities setting special regulations.

On the issue of a proposal of allow deferment of special leave for up to one year, 76.7 percent of people in Taiwan support it, and among people aged 20-29, the support rate is 81.1 percent, according to the poll.

Meanwhile 50.4 percent of the general public agrees that employees should be allowed to work 12 days in a row, as opposed to the current rule of a mandatory day off in any seven-day period.

In the 20-29 age group, however, the support rate for that proposal is only 42 percent, the poll showed.

A government proposal to reduce the mandatory break between a worker's daily shifts from 11 hours to eight has 51.9 percent public backing, with 51 percent support among people 20-29 years old, the survey found.

The labor law amendment bill, which is currently before the Legislature, also seeks to change the payment structure for overtime work, which has 64.8 percent public support, according to the poll.

The survey, commissioned by Win Win Weekly, was carried out by All Dimension polling company Dec. 29 to Jan. 1 among people aged 20 and over. It collected 1,202 valid responses and had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.83 percentage points.

The draft Labor Standards Act amendment bill was approved by the Cabinet on Nov. 9 and was sent to the Legislative Yuan for screening during an extra session that is being held Jan. 5-31.

According to the Cabinet, the bill is aimed at making work rules more flexible for both employers and employees.

For example, it allows employees to work 12 days in a row once they take one mandatory day off on either end of the 12-day period instead of the existing regulation of six consecutive days.

The amendment also addresses the issue of overtime pay on flex days, saying compensation must be calculated based on the actual amount of time worked rather than on blocks of four or eight hours, as is the case at present.

Another significant issue is the regulation on paid annual vacation leave, which currently does not allow employees to carry over unused vacation days from one calendar year to the next.

The amendment is proposing that, for example, workers who are entitled to 10 days paid annual leave be allowed to defer them for one year, after which they could either take the accumulated vacation days or opt to be paid for them.

CNA file photo

CNA file photo

However, since the Cabinet's approval, labor groups, migrant workers, students and political parties in opposition have been staging protests, including hunger strikes, calling for the draft amendments to the Labor Standards Act to be withdrawn.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and William Yen)