Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Premier Lai planning amendment to workweek rule

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Premier William Lai speaks at a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Cabinet is prepared to revise a controversial workweek policy and is going to submit a draft amendment following a plenary legislative session later this month, Premier William Lai (賴清德) said yesterday.

The five-day workweek with a mandatory day off and a flexible rest day policy implemented in December last year has drawn waves of criticism from employers and workers due to its restrictions on shift arrangement and requirements on higher overtime pay.

Lai said a draft would be submitted after a legislative question-and-answer session is held following the start of the next legislative session on Friday next week.

“The Executive Yuan will come to terms with the suggestions from various groups responsibly and honestly. I will take the opportunity of the legislative session to take guidance from lawmakers to formulate and conclude [a draft amendment],” Lai told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei.

All legislative caucuses, including the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP), which had backed the workweek policy, have advised him to revise the policy, Lai said.

Lai’s statement was the first specific announcement that the government is planning to revise the policy; he had urged such a move in July when he was still Tainan mayor.

During a luncheon with DPP lawmakers later in the day, Lai reiterated that the Cabinet would draft an amendment after negotiating with the opposition parties, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.

Citing Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) criticism of the lack of flexibility in the policy, Hsu said the Cabinet would be open to the suggestions of opposition parties.

Twenty-one DPP lawmakers in May tabled a draft amendment to reduce the overtime pay requirements and relax overtime rules, but their proposal has not been scheduled for a review.

The DPP proposal would allow employers to pay employees just for the actual hours of work on rest days, instead of a flat four-hour or eight-hour pay.

It also seeks to raise the cap on maximum monthly overtime hours from 46 hours to 54 hours, provided the total overtime hours in a three-month period do not exceed 138 hours — the same as the three-month total of the current cap.

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