Employers group calls for system to disqualify unfit caregivers

10/05/2019 08:31 PM
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Taipei, Oct. 5 (CNA) A group of Taiwanese employers of migrant caregivers called on the government Saturday to establish a review mechanism to disqualify workers who are deemed unfit to perform their jobs.

Chien Li-jen (簡麗貞), a member of the Taiwan Foreign Worker and Employer Group that advocates employers rights, said at a press event that her group receives 20 to 30 phone calls a day from people complaining about the foreign caregivers they have hired.

According to Chien, many of the complaints come after the caregivers they employ slack off on their jobs, especially after learning they have to take care of critically ill patients who need attention around the clock.

Chien cited one case in New Taipei in May when a caregiver allegedly put a wheelchair-bound person in her care under the sun for two hours while she focused on playing with her cellphone, and the patient nearly died from cardiac arrest.

The caregiver later filed to transfer to another employer, a request that has since been granted by the New Taipei Department of Labor, even though the department was informed of the incident and the original employer's concerns the worker was not fit for the job, Chien said.

According to the Ministry of Labor (MOL), the caregiver argued that her employer did not give her enough food and forced her to assume a heavy workload, which is why she applied to change employers.

The ministry ultimately approved her request because the original employer did not provide enough evidence to support their accusation against her.

The decision only reinforced the belief among Chien and her group that the labor policy currently in force overly protects migrant workers at the expense of their Taiwanese employers.

There is no review mechanism to weed out caregivers who are unfit to care for others, Chien said, and once a migrant caregiver files for a transfer to another employer, that person must find a new job before his or her former employer can hire a replacement.

Such policies are extremely unfriendly toward families who have a relative that needs intensive care day and night, she said, and she urged the authorities to change the rules.

The group also suggested that the government limit a migrant worker's right to change employers to three times in three years -- the standard length of a migrant worker's contract -- contrary to the unlimited number of transfers allowed under the current rules.

In response, the MOL said it would revoke a migrant worker's right to work in Taiwan and ask him or her to leave the country whenever local governments or judicial agencies deem the worker to have seriously violated the country's laws.

The ministry did not respond directly, however, to the employer group's appeals.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and Joseph Yeh)

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