The Ministry of Labor yesterday announced that today it is to officially drop a proposed amendment to Article 23 of the Enforcement Rules of the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法施行細則) and that the nation’s private-sector employees are to keep their 19 government-mandated national holidays after the restoration of holidays previously canceled by the proposal.
The move is in line with a resolution by the legislature’s Health and Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee earlier this year to return the ministry’s proposed amendment, which called for a reduction in the number of national holidays from 19 to 12, to be corrected or abolished.
The ministry yesterday said that Teacher’s Day on Sept. 28 would be restored, but that the holidays already missed this year on Jan. 2 and March 29 would not be retroactively covered.
Earlier yesterday, a number of workers’ groups protested outside the ministry, demanding that it restore the seven national holidays that were canceled in the dropped proposal.
Taiwan Higher Education Union member Chen Poh-chien (陳柏謙) said the ministry should implement measures to guarantee that private-sector employers will honor the changes by correcting their work schedules and give the two missed holidays back to workers.
Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment Director Lee Yi-hsuan (李怡萱) talked to the demonstrators on behalf of the ministry, saying: “We intend to work on the situation in accordance with the Legislative Yuan’s resolution.”
Union representatives expressed their displeasure with Lee’s statement by shoving police officers as she retreated into the ministry compound with a police escort.
The confrontation ended without serious altercations.
Wang Chin-jung (王金蓉), a senior executive official at the department, later said that the legislature’s decision not to review the amendment meant that its provisions are to expire today, but the holidays already missed this year cannot be retroactively applied.
Regarding a demand by workers’ groups that a two days off per week scheme be implemented, either by having one fixed and one flexible day off, or having two fixed days off, Wang said the ministry had commissioned a polling agency to survey public opinion prior to proposing any further amendments to labor laws and regulations.
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