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Man fakes mom's death for time off, underscoring culture of overtime

Man fakes mom's death for time off, underscoring culture of overtime

Taipei, Oct. 22 (CNA) In a move that highlights the plight of a workfroce where fatigue is the norm, an overworked 29-year-old production line worker has been indicted by prosecutors for drafting a false death certificate for his mother as an excuse to take time off. The worker, surnamed Chang, allegedly submitted the forged document to request a five-day absence after an extended period of regularly working overtime. Statistics from the Council of Labor Affairs rank Taiwan third in total working hours for last year, behind only Singapore and Hong Kong, in a comparison of 10 countries and territories. The same day charges were brought up against Chang, 1111 Job Bank said that 40.29 percent of office workers in a survey log between 201-250 hours per month on the job. The average for all white-collar respondents was 221 hours each month. The numbers clearly exceed local labor regulations, which limit regular work time to 84 hours for each period of two weeks. Heavy workloads mean that many employees are saddled with extra hours after regular shifts and even on weekends in order to accomplish tasks on time. The lowest paid employees work long hours, the survey shows, but surprisingly, their bosses work longer. Workers earning NT$20,000 (US$ 681) or less put in 224 hours each month, while managers earning NT$70,000 or above work 234, according to the data. Overtime affects not only employees at manufacturers, like Chang, but workers across many of Taiwan's most important sectors. The two longest-working industries are construction and real estate, where employees spend 278 hours at work each month, the survey says. Service and manufacturing sectors follow at 235 hours and 232 hours a month, respectively. Moreover, the vast majority of respondents, 77 percent, said they regularly stay at work late or come in on holidays but do not receive overtime pay or extra time off -- a type of systemized overtime that has become known across the country as "the responsibility system." The survey was conducted Oct. 4-18 and collected 1,120 valid responses with a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2.92 percentage points. (By Wu Chin-chun, Chen Ching-ping and Maia Huang)


Updated : 2021-03-09 16:32 GMT+08:00