The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) said yesterday it would launch a nationwide crackdown on companies that overwork employees and address a growing number of complaints about health and safety problems related to overwork.
The announcement came one day after the council released a survey that found that more than a quarter of employees had worked more than the maximum 12 hours a day allowed by the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) over the past year.
That prompted the council to immediately launch a five-step mechanism, which will run through the end of the year, Council of Labor Affairs Deputy Minister Kuo Fang-yu (郭芳煜) told a press conference.
Likening the procedure to the five first-aid steps to treat burns, Kuo held up a display with headings for each step: inspection, punishment, improvement, announcement and blacklist. Companies suspected of violations will be inspected and offenders could be fined from NT$20,000 to NT$300,000 and ordered to improve within one month, Kuo said.
Employers found to be forcing sick employees to work overtime could be imprisoned, he said.
Violators will be publicized on the council’s Web site, and a blacklist would be established for repeat offenders, Kuo said.
The council would review at least 10,000 firms in the seven sectors that are most prone to complaints about overwork: financial services, information technology, medical and social work, arts and entertainment, professional technical services, hospitality and manufacturing.
“Businesses should look upon their employees as treasures,” Kuo said, adding the council would urge firms to appreciate their hard-working staff as well as encourage workers to file complaints if they suspect their employers are breaking the law.
“There is a mechanism for confidentiality, so names will not be leaked,” an official said, adding that as many as 150 complaints were received a day.
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