Sat, Jul 05, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Grand Justices move to restrict labor insurance

WORKERS' BENEFITS The council ruled against a German woman who sought compensation under the plan for the death of her mother, who lived in Germany

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Labor insurance does not cover the relatives of foreign workers who do not live in Taiwan, the Council of Grand Justices ruled yesterday.

"Article 62 of the Labor Insurance Act (勞工保險條例) says that the insured worker is supposed to receive compensation from the policy when one of their parents, children, wife or husband is injured or dies," Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Yang Jen-shou (楊仁壽) said when presenting Interpretation No. 560 to the Constitution.

"However, Article 43-5 of the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) also says that foreign workers' relatives who do not live in this country will not be covered by the labor insurance.

The grand justices decided that both of the articles are not against Article 15 of the Constitution," Yang said.

Article 15 of the Constitution says, "The right of existence, the right to work and the right of property shall be guaranteed to the people."

Both domestic and foreign workers in Taiwan enjoy labor and health insurance policies from their companies. Workers pay 30 percent of monthly insurance payments, employers pay 60 percent and the government pays the remainder.

A labor insurance policy-holder can receive compensation when he or she is injured, retires or dies because of work. The same policy also covers parents, children, and spouses.

According to the Labor Insurance Act, the total amount of the compensation from the labor insurance policy could be up to three times the injured employee's monthly income.

Yang said the decision to exclude foreign workers' relatives who do not live in the country would benefit workers and their families who had really devoted themselves to this country.

"Don't get me wrong. It has nothing to do with racism," Yang said.

"It is necessary to focus on workers who are really working hard for this country," Yang said.

Annette Wiedenbach, a German citizen who works in Taiwan for Bayer Polyurethane Taiwan Ltd, filed the request to the Council of Grand Justices in 2000 because the Bureau of Labor Insurance refused to compensate her when her mother died in Germany on Jan. 25, 1998.

With the help of lawyers Chen Charng-ven (陳長文) and Nigel Lee (李念祖), Wiedenbach filed an administrative suit but the Administrative Supreme Court ruled against her on Nov. 16, 2000.

Wiedenbach applied for the interpretation because she regarded the court's decision as conflicting with the Constitution.

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