The Cabinet is to announce a draft amendment today at the earliest to change several amendments that were made last year to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), and is expected to submit it to the Legislative Yuan next month.
“The Ministry of Labor will put forward the [draft] amendment within a day or two,” Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said yesterday, without revealing its details.
The Chinese-language Liberty Times (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) reported that the draft amendment would lift a rule that requires at least one mandatory day off every week, lower the required amount of overtime pay and enact a flexible overtime system, but Hsu said what had been reported is a revision proposed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus and is not the ministry’s draft amendment.
Premier William Lai (賴清德) will review the draft amendment today at the earliest, which will be negotiated with DPP lawmakers before the ministry formally announces the draft, the Cabinet said.
The controversial five-day workweek policy, promulgated in December last year, stipulates a fixed day off and a flexible rest day, while employees, if asked to work on rest days, are to be given four hours of pay for between one and four hours of work, and eight hours of pay for between five and eight hours of work.
The policy has drawn criticism from employers, employees and labor rights groups, and Lai pledged to revise the policy when he took office on Sept. 5.
According to the report, a revision agreed upon by the Executive Yuan, the DPP caucus and the ministry would allow employers to pay overtime based on the actual number of hours worked on rest days, which is in line with a draft amendment proposed in May by 21 DPP lawmakers led by DPP Legislator Ho Hsin-chun (何欣純).
The revision would also raise the cap on total overtime hours from 46 hours to 54 hours per month, or alternatively to a maximum of 138 hours in a three-month period, provided that employers and employees reach an agreement on the cap raise.
The proposed cap raise is also in line with the DPP lawmakers’ May proposal.
The draft amendment would also scrap the rule that requires a mandatory day off every week.
The revision would shorten the minimum rest time between shifts for some industries such as the transportation and medical sectors.
The act stipulates that a person must be allowed a rest period of at least 11 hours between shifts, but the rest-time clause has not been enacted since the act’s promulgation.
The draft amendment plans to lower the rest period to eight hours provided that employers and employees can reach an agreement.
The revision also plans to allow a one-year extension of annual leave, according to the report.
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