ECCT recommends changes to labor laws

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Nov 16, 2017 - Page 12

The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) yesterday welcomed the easing of residency requirements for foreign professionals and called for more flexible rules on work hours.

“Attracting and retaining the right people is arguably the most important criterion for success in the modern economy,” the trade group said in its annual position paper released yesterday.

Taiwan is facing critical shortages of both white and blue-collar workers in several sectors and there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the paper said.

“The government’s proposed revision is acceptable, but we need more time to see how the matter settles,” ECCT vice chairman Olivier Rousselet told a news conference.

The ECCT has recommended abolishing “rest day” restrictions and allowing workers the option of working on rest days, as well as increasing the monthly overtime maximum.

In addition, the chamber has pressed for flexibility in working hour accounting and exemptions on work hour rules for sales staff, senior managers and those whose salaries exceed NT$200,000 per month.

Labor rules introduced in December last year reduce employers’ flexibility to manage their workforce, and increase their personnel and administrative costs, the paper said.

Workers have also complained about the rigidity of the system, because they are deprived of the option to work on certain days and earn overtime, it added.

Solving Taiwan’s talent shortage requires both investment to upgrade education and training facilities, and removing restrictions on people and institutions from abroad, the paper said.

Schools considering establishing a presence in Taiwan to teach software or Internet-related engineering face a plethora of laws and regulations that discourage prestigious foreign educational institutions from setting up branches in Taiwan, it said.

“A simple fix would be to exempt private IT [information technology], software, engineering or related schools from the tough requirements of the Private School Act [私立學校法],” the paper said.

Meanwhile, concrete action is required if Taiwan is to raise the share of renewable energy sources to its target of 20 percent by 2025, the trade group said.

Too many agencies are involved in the application process for renewables and there is a lack of coordination among them, the ECCT said, adding that the necessary investment in grid infrastructure to allow the addition of renewable energy sources has not yet been forthcoming.

The ECCT recommended establishing an energy industry supervisory commission vested with the authority to coordinate among government agencies and collaborate with the private sector to resolve administrative difficulties and streamline the application process.

Taiwan has great potential for offshore wind development and has attracted applications from developers for a total of 10 gigawatts of capacity, the ECCT said, but added that offshore wind projects require large-scale equipment and infrastructure investment, which is not yet present in the nation.