CORONAVIRUS/New COVID guidelines set for employers of migrant workers

06/21/2021 05:49 PM
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A COVID-19 testing station. CNA file photo
A COVID-19 testing station. CNA file photo

Taipei, June 21 (CNA) The Ministry of Labor (MOL) has announced updated guidelines for employers of migrant workers that require them to implement COVID-19 prevention measures in their workplaces and dormitories to contain the spread of the infectious disease.

Violators will face a maximum fine of NT$300,000 (US$10,740) or have their employment permits revoked if found with serious violations, said Labor Minister Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) on Monday.

According to the updated guidelines, aimed at reinforcing controls at factories and dorms where migrant workers spend most of their time, employers are required to adopt measures such as staggered shifts and wider work spaces to reduce contact among their employees.

In addition, migrant workers recruited by different manpower agencies cannot live on the same floor.

Employers should monitor the health of all migrant workers and arrange for those with suspected COVID-19 symptoms to be isolated and tested. Rapid screening kits and single rooms with private bathrooms should be prepared in case of need, according to the updated guidelines.

Employers of migrant workers will be asked to make improvements if labor authorities find they are not following the guidelines. If they fail to do so within a certain time frame, they will be subject to fines of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000.

Serious offenders will have their employment permits revoked.

Manpower agencies will face the same fines if they are contracted by employers of migrant workers to be responsible for the workers' living arrangements, according to the MOL.

The same rules also apply to domestic helpers and caregivers if they live in a dorm, it said.

The updated guidelines were released following outbreaks at several electronics companies in factory-intensive Zhunan Township in Miaoli County earlier this month. A majority of those confirmed cases have been migrant workers.

To contain the spread, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) stationed a task force in Zhunan on June 4 that has closely monitored eight electric companies since then.

As of Monday, a total of 471 workers in these eight companies have tested positive for COVID-19, with 400 of them overseas workers.

The cases confirmed most recently involved migrant workers already put in quarantine so there is little risk that the disease has spread to local communities, said Wang Pi-sheng (王必勝), who heads the local CECC task force.

(By Chang Hsiung-feng, Chen Chieh-ling, Chiang Hui-chun and Joseph Yeh)

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