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Labor Ministry to amend law to implement five-day work week

Labor Ministry to amend law to implement five-day work week

Taipei, May 24 (CNA) Labor Minister Kuo Fang-yu said Tuesday that his ministry will propose a law amendment within a month to implement a five-day work week for workers in Taiwan.

Kuo told the United Evening News in an article published Tuesday that the amendment to the Labor Standards Act will stipulate that workers across the board should be guaranteed two days off per week.

The ministry will also give workers back the seven national holidays that were deducted from them in another law amendment that was proposed by the Ministry of Labor (MOL) last year, but rejected by the Legislature in April.

The rejected amendment would have applied the 40-hour work week system to the entire workforce by cutting the number of national holidays to compensate for the reduced working hours. Kuo said that his ministry will let the rejected amendment lapse automatically.

Taiwan has adopted a 40-hour, five-day work week system for civil servants since 2001, but the Labor Standards Act was not correspondingly amended to allow the country's entire workforce to enjoy the same treatment.

In addition, Kuo said, if the new amendment is approved, employees can be entitled to double time if they are asked to work on either of their weekly days off. Currently, employees who work overtime during their regular work days receive maximum overtime pay of 1.67 times their wages.

Kuo also said he agrees that the minimum hourly pay should be raised from NT$120 (US$3.67) to NT$126, adding that the hike could be implemented as soon as July.

Labor groups largely welcomed the proposed new measures.

Taiwan Labour Front Secretary-General Son Yu-liam said he supports the measures, but urged the ministry to further raise the minimum wage and reduce total annual hours.

Businesses, meanwhile, voiced opposition.

Lin Po-feng, head of the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, said that for every additional seven days off for workers, wage costs will increase by 2 percent for companies.

"This is forcing companies to leave Taiwan," he said.

Sam Ho, a standing director of the Chinese National Federation of Industries, warned that job opportunities could further decline with the proposed labor policy.

Taiwanese companies are already producing 60 percent of their products overseas, with the number estimated to reach 65 percent by the end of the year, he said.

If the trend continues, that figure could reach 70 percent in the near future, meaning that there will be fewer jobs at home, Ho said. (By Yu Hsiao-han Christie Chen)


Updated : 2021-08-01 06:09 GMT+08:00