Sat, May 21, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Coalition calls for laws to protect domestic help

CNA , Taipei

An opposition legislator and an alliance promoting domestic help service legislation unveiled what they called "a workers' version" of a domestic service law yesterday.

Legislator Joanna Lei (雷倩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the alliance, which was formed by the Taiwan International Workers' Association (TIWA) and other civic groups, called a press conference at the Legislative Yuan to call attention to the need for legislation to protect the rights of workers in the domestic service sector.

rights of workers

Lei noted that domestic helpers and caregivers are currently excluded from the nation's Basic Labor Law, which protects the basic rights of workers.

She added that "disadvantaged" foreign domestic helpers or caregivers sometimes suffer even more unfair treatment and abuses than their Taiwanese counterparts.

With the government stalled on such legislation, the alliance has worked with legislators to unveil the workers' version of a domestic service law in the hopes of prodding the government to act swiftly to come up with their own version, Lei said.

She said that society needs to learn to tolerate the ever increasing number of immigrants to Taiwan, whether they be foreign laborers or spouses of Taiwan nationals, and give them fair treatment lest they become a "time bomb" in society.

caregivers

Ku Yu-lin (顧玉玲), TIWA secretary-general, said that although the population of domestic helpers and caregivers in Taiwan is almost 300,000, with more than 130,000 of these being foreign laborers, they have no laws to protect them.

Ku said that the alliance completed the workers' version of a domestic help service law after more than two years of efforts.

The workers' version regulates the working conditions in the domestic service sector and sets out the responsibilities of laborers, employers and brokerage agencies.

Endorsement of the bill is currently being solicited from legislators from across the party spectrum, she added.

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