Taiwan business should not blame all problems on workweek reform: NPP

NPP and business associations in tense exchange about the need for further workweek reform

NPP legislator Hsu Yung-ming (photo from NPP Facebook page).

NPP legislator Hsu Yung-ming (photo from NPP Facebook page).

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Employers should not blame the government’s workweek reform for all of their problems, the New Power Party (時代力量) told leaders of business associations when they visited its lawmakers.

The Democratic Progressive Party administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) introduced a package of reform measures last year, including a measure forcing employers to give employees two days off following each seven days a work (一例一休).

The measure, introduced by then-Premier Lin Chuan (林全), has drawn criticism for allegedly not taking into account sectors of the economy where it would be impractical.

Now that a new premier, William Lai (賴清德), has taken over from Lin, the government has promised to take another look at the reforms.

Business organization leaders visited the legislative caucus of the NPP Tuesday and asked it to support changes, such as a rise in the maximum number of working hours per month to 60.

However, NPP chief whip Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) struck back by pointing out that the same business leaders had expressed support for the government measures when they were proposed last year. Laws that had been passed less than a year ago should not be amended this quickly, but instead employers should raise wages for their staff, Hsu remarked, according to a report in the Chinese-language Apple Daily.

The chairman of the Chinese National Federation of Industries (工總), Rock Hsu (許勝雄), said that pay rises were only possible if a company was making a profit.

The mood of the conversation between the business leaders and the NPP legislators was tense, the Apple Daily reported, with a walkout by the former side only narrowly avoided.