Sat, Jan 03, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Part-time, temp employment likely to rise: academic

BENEFITS As businesses seek to cut costs, ‘atypical employment’ is likely to increase. The government must take steps to protect workers, a professor said

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

As business closures and unemployment rise amid a protracted global economic downturn, the government must devise measures to counter a rise in “atypical employment,” an academic said yesterday.

The lingering financial crisis has dealt a heavy blow not only to the banking industry but to many sectors across the economy, which will lead to a rise in “non-standard” forms of employment, said Hsin Ping-lung (辛炳隆), a professor at National Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of National Development.

“Atypical employment” refers to temporary and part-time work. Those employed in these kinds of jobs generally do not enjoy standard benefits, such as pensions, health insurance and social security.

“Workers in the banking and high-tech sectors who lost their jobs in this wave of financial turmoil might not be able to get their jobs back because the existing economic predicament is set to change Taiwan’s labor market and nature of employment,” Hsin said.

A sign of the trend, he said, is the growing inclination of companies to hire temporary or contract workers to replace permanent employees as they search for ways to lower operating costs.

The latest statistics compiled by the Cabinet-level Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) showed that 6.24 percent of Taiwan’s workers, or some 650,000 people, are “atypical workers,” who on average earn 47.6 percent of normal workers’ salaries.

Although Taiwan’s ratio of atypical workers in the domestic labor market remains relatively low compared with that of Japan and South Korea, Hsin said the ratio for Taiwan would increase to between 10 percent and 20 percent in the coming years.

“Workers recently laid off as a result of this wave of financial tumult might become atypical workers in the future,” he said.

To counter the trend, the government should develop measures and enforce existing legislation to safeguard the rights of atypical workers and narrow the gap between their pay levels and benefits and those of full-time workers, Hsin said.

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