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Council of Labor Affairs lifts ban on pregnant foreign workers effective November

Council of Labor Affairs lifts ban on pregnant foreign workers effective November

The Cabinet's Council of Labor Affairs yesterday announced new regulations that repeal a law under which foreign laborers in Taiwan could be deported if they become pregnant. The new amendment to the labor laws also allow that pregnant foreign workers could switch to jobs with less workload.
The amendment to the law on foreigners' employment and management will come into effect starting November 9.
Previous to the revision, foreign laborers were required to take a pregnancy test as part of mandatory regular health checks every six months.
However, the new regulation will only apply to workers who enter Taiwan after November 9, 2000. Foreign laborers who entered before that date will still be subject to deportation if they become pregnant, said Kuo Fang-yu, director general of the council's employment and vocational training administration.
Kuo noted that the regular health checks will remain mandatory but the new law amendment would remove an unfair restriction on foreign laborers which has been blasted by human rights groups as inhuman as it violated the workers' right to pregnancy.
Kuo said that under the new measures, pregnant foreign workers employed under the Labor Standards Law would also be allowed to switch to jobs with less work load, within the limits of their employment contracts.
The status of domestic helpers, to whom the Labor Standards Law does not apply, would be determined by their employment contracts, if they become pregnant.
However, Kuo noted that under the new law "employment contracts cannot regulate that pregnancy is cause for dismissal of an employee. Any such employment contracts will become null and void."
"Employers would be permitted to terminate contracts if the employee is unable to perform her duties due to pregnancy, but, in that case, a severance fee must be paid, in accordance with to the Labor Standards Law," Kuo added.
According to the law governing foreigners' employment and management, pregnant foreign laborers are not permitted to work in Taiwan. Workers are usually deported if the health checks, performed three days after their arrival in Taiwan, show that they are pregnant.