Tue, Jul 13, 2010 - Page 2 News List

CLA close to enacting temp worker regulations

EXPLOITATIVE PRACTICESEmployers have increasingly turned to contract workers because they don’t have to provide them with the same benefits as full-time workers

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) is close to completing proposed amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) that would include tighter restrictions and regulations for the temporary and contract labor market.

Council officials yesterday said they were coordinating efforts across government agencies to complete a proposal to amend the act, a move that would tighten restrictions on hiring contractors.

It said the proposal was expected to reach the Executive Yuan for approval next month.

Proposed changes include capping the percentage of a company’s contract workforce at 3 percent. However, a company would still be able to hire contract workers to make up 20 percent of its total workforce provided it received union approval and a majority of employees were union members.

PROHIBITIONS

The proposal would also prohibit hiring contract workers in certain industries, such as the medical, security, airline, marine, public transportation and coal mining industries.

The proposal came after the Control Yuan censored the council for what it said was a failure to adequately regulate the temporary and contract labor market and crack down on hiring agencies that violate labor rules.

BENEFITS

Council officials said the proposal would offer better benefits to temporary workers who have worked at the same company for at least a year. Employees in that category could apply to become regular workers and the company would be required to respond within three days, or the temporary worker would automatically receive regular employee status.

The council is also mulling whether to hold employers, rather than hiring agencies, responsible in the event of workplace-related ­incidents such as sexual harassment or discrimination.

Contract employees, or temps, are usually hired through employment agencies. In recent years, they have become a popular low-cost means for businesses to boost their workforce, as employers are usually not obliged to provide the same job benefits for contract workers as they do for regular employees. Many job seekers are willing to accept temporary work in the hope of later securing a regular position.

CLA statistics show that 516,000 people in Taiwan are employed as contract workers. The large number involved also highlights the importance of regulating this segment of the labor market to ensure temporary workers do not lose their jobs as a result of government intervention.

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