Taipei (Taiwan News) -- Despite a mounting awareness of labor rights, a recent official survey shows that up to 44 percent of Taiwanese workers worked overtime in 2016, with each working an average of 18.8 hours of overtime per month.
Taiwan has long been criticized for its government's loose management of work hours and a prolonged period of low wage growth. Many employers were found to have failed to comply with all of the work hour regulations, including forcing laborers to work unpaid overtime. Attorney Chen You-xin of the Via Justice Law Office was quoted in the Apple Daily earlier as saying that many local workers in Taiwan either voluntarily or are forced to forgo their annual leave entitlements due to heavy workloads without any financial compensation.
Chen described the entitlement as a pie in the sky for the majority, citing the weak enforcement of labor laws.
The Ministry of Labor (MOL) unveiled results of its annual national survey Wednesday, which discovered that in 2016, 44 percent of local workers worked overtime, down 2.2 percentage points from the prior year. The survey points out that Taiwanese worked an average of 18.8 hours of overtime a month, surpassing neighboring countries, even work-obsessed Japan.
A recent Japanese government report showed that Japanese work an average of 14.2 hours of overtime a month.
In terms of the sectors in which employees work overtime the most, the professional service sector lead the pack at 58.2 percent, followed by the electricity supply sector at 55.4 percent, healthcare and social welfare at 54.7 percent, and the publishing and information service sectors rounded out the top five at 53.4 percent each.
The MOL's survey also indicates that 13 percent of Taiwanese workers have been given off-duty assignments, which amounts to an average of 5.5 hours a month.
The survey was conducted by the MOL on 4,093 respondents in the island country during the June-July period .