The legislature yesterday revised rules to hold employers responsible for deaths from overwork, although a labor rights campaigner criticized a maximum fine of NT$300,000 (US$10,000) to be imposed on an employer as insufficient.
Following the passage of an amendment to the Labor Safety and Health Act (勞工安全衛生法), which was renamed the Occupational Safety and Health Act (職業安全衛生法) yesterday, Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injuries representative Ho Kuang-wan (賀光卍) expressed skepticism over its effectiveness as a deterrent.
“The law requires an employer to pay NT$300,000 in compensation for a worker’s death resulting from excessive work. In most cases, bosses don’t care about money. If the punishment is limited to fines, there will be no deterrent effect,” Ho said.
Ho made the remarks at a press conference called by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬), whose proposal that employers against whom death-by-overwork lawsuits are filed be given jail sentences was rejected by the legislature.
Although jail sentences were not included in the main text of the article, it was stated in the interpretation of the law that if an employee died of overwork, their employer may face charges under Article 276 of the Criminal Code for professional negligence resulting in death.
Under the law’s new articles, employers are required to take precautionary measures to prevent adverse health effects resulting from an abnormal working schedule, such as overtime and night shifts, which put unusual strain on the body.
Violations of the rules will be punishable by a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000, while employers could be fined up to NT$300,000 in the event of occupational diseases caused by working conditions that could have been prevented.
The amendment expanded the number of employees covered under the act to 10.67 million workers in all sectors, from the current 6.7 million in certain industries.
In light of a string of major work safety incidents at the Sixth Naphtha Cracker in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township (麥寮) operated by Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) last year, the legislature endorsed the proposed rules targeted at protecting workers in high-risk environments, such as those in the petrochemical industry, dubbed the “sixth naphtha cracker clause.”
Employers who fail to comply with workplace safety regulations and conduct regular risk assessments would be given a fine of up to NT$3 million, the law stipulated.
The government and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday both spoke out against plans by the Chinese government to enact a national security law in Hong Kong. Chinese officials yesterday confirmed that the National People’s Congress would review a bill “on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security.” The Presidential Office said that the announcement was evidence that the “one country, two systems” framework fundamentally clashes with democratic freedoms. The de-escalation of tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing relies on the Chinese government’s willingness to respond to Hong Kongers’ demands,
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,