65% of Taiwanese employers want workweek policy change: poll

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s controversial five-day workweek policy looks to be undergoing some changes after the newly inaugurated Premier William Lai said the Cabinet is to submit a draft amendment following a plenary legislative session. On Monday, a recruitment agency published a survey that discloses up to 65 percent of local employers are displeased with the workweek policy.

The five-day workweek policy, also known as the "one fixed day off and one flexible rest day," entered into force nine months ago and has drawn much criticism from local employers due to increased labor costs and labor shortage, and, surprisingly, from some employees as well. Several business advocacy groups have been pushing for workweek reforms during this period of time.

According to the recruitment agency 1111, 53 percent of local businesses have been affected by the new workweek policy, with operation costs up 5.2 percent in average. Some employers reported it has become difficult to run businesses due to an inflexible work schedule that mandates at least one day off every seven days of work. Employers of service and logistics sectors reported being hardest hit by the policy.

65 percent of respondents in the survey said a change of the policy is needed. 17 percent of employers in the survey are hoping for a little wiggle room to allow workers to remain on duty for 12 consecutive days in certain sectors.

The legislative session will begin on Friday, September 22. The amendment bill has been listed as a priority for review.

Last week, I-Mei Foods Co., Ltd. CEO Luis Ko (高志明) in a policy review forum said that most of the people drawing up the labor 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, and the minister would soon find out that many of the regulations still in existence were simply impractical and impossible to adhere to.