Taiwan workweek reform needs English explanation to help foreign investors: I-Mei CEO

Policymakers need more practical experience: Luis Ko

I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As Taiwan’s economy depends on interaction with the whole world, the government should explain its workweek reform measures in English so that foreign investors can also understand it, I-Mei Foods Co., Ltd. (義美食品) CEO Luis Ko (高志明) said at a policy discussion September 15.

In addition, Ko also pointed out that the present Labor Standards Act (LSA, 勞基法) no longer corresponded to contemporary requirements, so government officials should go out and take stock of the actual situation on the ground in order to draw up suitable policies.

As the Central News Agency reported, Ko said that foreign investors needed to understand workweek reform, in particular the measure of five days of work followed by two days off introduced last year, so it should be explained clearly in English.

The design of policies should also be easy to understand for foreign enterprises and investors, Ko said, while it was hard to think the LSA should not be reformed when one considered how it had come about.

The service sector was opened up to foreign investment in 1982, while the LSA came into effect in 1984, before McDonald’s became the first multinational service company to set up shop in Taiwan, Ko said.

As most employees now work on computers and online, it is clear that the environment has changed completely from the time the LSA was introduced, he said. The law does not match the current environment, so Ko said he could not understand how people could still wonder whether changes to the LSA were needed or not.

The I-Mei CEO said that most of the people drawing up the laws had no experience in managing a business, so there were voices going up asking the labor minister to run a company under the rules he had drawn up himself. In this case, the minister would soon find out that many of the regulations still in existence were simply impractical and impossible to adhere to, Ko said.

He concluded that as policymakers were often people without practical experience and laws always came after the facts in order to solve problems, officials should go out into the field and visit each kind of enterprise, so they could learn about the issues at hand for themselves.