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Taiwan employers cannot forbid workers from going out during pandemic

Guidelines state that employers cannot deny foreign workers leave or block them from going out

Taiwan employers cannot forbid workers from going out during pandemic

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A new revision to regulations on foreign migrant workers released by the Ministry of Labor (MOL) on Wednesday (May 4) states that employers cannot forbid their workers from going outside on their days off.

As COVID cases spike across Taiwan, many migrant workers are reporting that they are being confined to their factories and dormitories, with strict orders not to venture out. However, preventing migrant workers from going out on their vacation days is a violation of Taiwan's labor laws.

The Workforce Development Agency of the MOL on Wednesday released its latest revision of the "Guidelines for Employers of Migrant Workers in Response to COVID-19." A section titled "Matters relating to the life of migrant workers needing attention," states that employers must honor leave provided to migrant workers in accordance with labor laws and labor contracts.

The guidelines say that employers shall not prohibit workers from taking vacations. Companies can coordinate with their foreign staff in staggering their leave days in order to not have them all concentrated at the same time.

If migrant workers are required to cooperate with local health authorities in implementing home isolation or home quarantine, they must comply with epidemic prevention regulations. Employers are obligated to provide quarantine leave for the workers and, during the quarantine period, can restrict them from going out or going to work.

Companies should remind migrant workers to avoid public places where large crowds of people gather and areas with poor ventilation when going out on holiday leave or when not at work. They should also remind the employees to maintain proper social distancing of one meter indoors and 1.5 meters outdoors and to wear a mask at all times when venturing out to reduce the risk of infection.

Firms should also encourage migrant workers to add the LINE account "Line@移點通" to receive the latest epidemic prevention information.