Tue, May 17, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Foreign caregiver bosses would pay minimum wage

LESS IS BETTER:A majority of survey respondents said they would not give priority to Taiwanese caregivers, indicating they preferred paying less for foreign labor

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff Reporter

More than four-fifths of employers of foreign caregivers say they would be willing to offer their employees the minimum wage, a survey by the Council of Labor Affairs showed yesterday.

In July last year, the council polled more than 10,000 employers of foreign workers, 5,000 of whom employ foreign caregivers, to ask them about their attitude toward hiring foreign workers and the compensation and benefits given to their workers.

The survey showed that as many as 85 percent of employers were willing to pay foreign caregivers, who are currently exempt from the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), the minimum wage.

The current minimum wage is NT$17,880 a month.

GIVING A BREAK

The survey also showed 64 percent of employers believed that giving foreign caregivers a set amount of break time in a day was acceptable.

However, only 27 percent said they would be willing to give priority to Taiwanese over foreign workers when seekuing to hire at-home caregivers, which showed that most employers of caregivers still preferred foreign labor because of their relatively lower wages.

Officials said the survey showed that if the council proposed including foreign caregivers in the act and therefore having their salaries adjusted in accordance with the minimum wage, it would be widely accepted by most employers of foreign caregivers.

DAY OFFS

The absence of days off has long been on the list of complaints by foreign worker associations and labor groups.

Groups such as the Taiwan International Workers Association have said that failing to make it mandatory for employers to provide for caregivers to take certain days off amounted to legalizing the current practice of refusing to give foreign at-home workers days off.

The groups say foreign workers are at a disadvantage because they do not have any negotiating power and are not able to freely change employers.

Labor groups have also questioned why the nation’s labor standards do not apply to foreign workers, who they say are not treated like human beings with equal rights as domestic workers.

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