Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - Page 12 News List

New regulations acceptable, but not satisfactory: groups

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Business groups yesterday said revisions to labor rules are acceptable, because they allow companies and employees more flexibility in arranging work shifts and overtime compensation, but are not satisfactory.

The Chinese National Federation of Industries (全國工業總會), which represents 150 member associations in the manufacturing sector, expressed gratitude to the government for pushing through the revisions, despite protests from labor unions and opposition lawmakers.

“No employers like overtime unless it is necessary,” federation secretary-general Tsai Lien-sheng (蔡練生) told reporters, amid the arrival of high sales season for consumer electronics.

However, current rules prohibit employees from working more than six consecutive days, making business trips to the US and Europe a breach of the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), he said.

Under the amendments, which are to go into effect on March 1, employees can be asked to work 12 consecutive days and take compensatory leave later.

Some employees prefer to accumulate rest days for vacation or educational trips abroad, Tsai said.

Trade groups also pressed for eased restrictions on overtime, which is capped at 46 hours per month, with compensation limited to up to three times regular pay.

The stringent terms have prompted employers to outsource and deprive staff of opportunities to earn overtime pay, business groups have said.

The revisions would raise the limit to 54 hours per month, or 138 hours over a three-month period, with maximum overtime pay of up to 2.66 times.

Lai Cheng-yi (賴正鎰), head of the General Chamber of Commerce and chairman of Shining Construction Group (鄉林集團), said the changes fell short of the 60 hours per month and double pay the chamber had advocated.

“We still consider overtime requirements unreasonable, but will make do for the time being and seek revisions in the future,” Lai told reporters.

Policymakers should draw up separate labor regulations for the 1.54 million member firms in service industries, because logistics and bus companies could require two to three consecutive months of overtime in high sales season, he said.

The government has approached labor rules from the perspective of the manufacturing industry, leading to difficulty implementing the rules in other sectors, he added.

Now that uncertainty has been settled, the government should focus its attention on improving the business environment and removing investment hurdles, Lai said.

The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan has called for exemptions on work hour rules for sales staff, senior managers and those whose salaries exceed NT$200,000 per month.

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