Sat, May 10, 2003 - Page 1 News List

You can't fire sick workers, bosses told

CNA , TAIPEI

The Council of Labor Affairs announced yesterday that employers cannot terminate the contracts of foreign workers if the employees become infected with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus.

The council said that foreign workers can remain in this country for treatment if they contract the virus and that they do not have to leave after they recover.

The council's announcement comes in the wake of three foreign workers dying due to SARS.

Labor officials said that they have begun to print pamphlets on SARS prevention in several languages in the hopes of informing foreign laborers how to protect themselves against the virus.

If any foreign laborer is determined to be a SARS probable case or SARS suspected case, they will be entitled to the same protection under labor laws as Taiwanese, the officials said.

The officials also said they have coordinated with local authorities to provide foreign laborers with necessary assistance through counselors who are familiar with the languages of the foreign laborers.

Starting yesterday, foreign laborers can go to foreign workers' counselling centers for any SARS information or for any problems with their employers resulting from SARS.

The officials said that foreign laborers who have to undergo quarantine at home will be included in the provisional regulations passed by the Legislative Yuan on SARS prevention and bail-out.

They said that if foreign laborers don't feel well, their employers are required to assist them in seeking medical treatment. If the workers are placed in compulsory quarantine, the companies must provide them with isolated dormitories.

Toll-free telephone numbers for SARS information:

English: 0800-885885

Thai: 0800-885995

Indonesian: 0800-885958

Vietnamese: 0800-017858

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