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Taiwan has 4th longest working hours in world

Taiwan ranked 2nd in Asia in terms of annual working hours

Foreign laborers. (Taiwan Today photo)

Foreign laborers. (Taiwan Today photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese worked the fourth-most hours in the world in 2018, according to a Ministry of Labor (MOL) report.

The average number of hours worked in Taiwan last year was 2,033 hours, two hours less than 2017. Thus, the country retains the dubious distinction of working the fourth-most hours when compared to the nearly 40 countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), trailing only Singapore, Mexico, and Costa Rica in terms of annual working hours clocked, reported CNA.

Statistics show that Singapore led the pack with 2,330 hours worked per capita. Mexico came in second at 2,035 hours, Costa Rica was in third at 2,121 hours, and South Korea and Japan trailed Taiwan at 2,005 hours and 1,680 hours, respectively, according to the report.

From 2008 to 2018, Taiwan saw its annual working hours per capita reduced by 122. South Korea saw 204 fewer hours worked, Japan reduced its average work time by 91 hours, and Costa Rica saw its drop 271 hours.

In response to Taiwan's status of having the fourth-most hours worked, CNA cited Deputy Labor Minister Lin Ming-yu (林明裕) as conceding that Taiwan ranks second in Asia. Lin said that the government should strive to reduce the number of hours worked but that each step of the process needs to be gradual.

Lin argued that if the total hours worked by Taiwanese are reduced all at once, overtime hours may also shrink, thus leading to a corresponding reduction in income. Therefore, Lin suggested that the reduction should be accompanied by increased wages.

Lin said that the MOL has sent a new minimum wage bill to the Cabinet for consideration. If passed into law, it should raise workers' wages, he added.