Most firms unhappy with new labor regulations: poll

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Feb 16, 2017 - Page 11

Nearly two months after the implementation of new work rules governing vacation days and a 40-hour workweek, most businesses said that the new rules have had negative effects, particularly in the areas of labor costs and personnel arrangements, a survey by an online job bank released yesterday showed.

About 73 percent of the respondent businesses expressed a negative opinion, while 26 percent said the new work rules, which went into effect on Dec. 23 last year, have had a positive effect, the 104 Job Bank (104人力銀行) survey showed.

The poll also found that 23 percent of respondents reported an average of 11 percent increased labor costs, while 63 percent estimated that they would see an average decline of 11 percent in annual profit this year.

Fifty-six percent of respondents complained that because of the new work rules, they are now busy performing human resource management, instead of human resource development, 104 Human Resource Institute senior deputy general manager Stanley Hua (花梓馨) said.

The new rules were designed to resolve problems related to workers’ days off and overtime compensation, but the policy might not be able to achieve its goodwill goals in the short term, as international political and economic situations have been dominated by a sense of uncertainty, he said.

The nation’s economic growth has remained sluggish and the problem of low wages remains unresolved, he added.

Under the new regulations, the maximum number of working hours has been reduced from 84 hours every two weeks to 40 hours per week and workers are now entitled to one mandatory day off and one “flexible” rest day per week — measures that could increase operating costs for businesses, Hua said.

Employers now face much greater overtime costs if they ask employees to work on their “flexible” day off, and they are not allowed to have employees work on their mandatory day off, because the rules mandate that workers can work for no more than six days in a row, he added.

The survey was conducted from Jan. 20 to Feb. 3 among 104 member businesses seeking new employees. A total of 938 valid samples were collected, with a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

The new work rules have also affected workers, 104 said, referring to the results of another survey conducted among job seekers.

That survey, also published yesterday, indicated that 30 percent of respondents have seen their real earnings shrink since the implementation of the new regulations, while 70 percent have not.

The average 11.3 percent wage decrease was mainly attributed to tightened company policies on overtime, Hua said.

Some businesses have abandoned the practice of requiring employees to work overtime on holidays in order to avoid having to pay overtime compensation, Hua said, adding that the policy change has had a significant effect on people aiming to increase their income through overtime.

The job seeker survey was conducted from Jan. 24 to Thursday last week and received 638 valid samples, with a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.