Sun, Aug 14, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet to prioritize bill on domestics, caregivers’ rights

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

The Executive Yuan will prioritize enactment of a bill regulating working conditions for foreign domestic helpers and caregivers as part of its efforts to combat human trafficking, Minister Without Portfolio Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) said.

“Lots of work needs to be done in terms of labor protection for those employed as domestic helpers and caregivers,” Luo said.

She made the remarks following Premier Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) directive that the government must put forward concrete proposals to address recommendations made by the US in its annual Trafficking in Persons Report released in June.

Taiwan received a tier-one ranking for its work in fighting human trafficking in the report, indicating that the government’s effort to combat human trafficking comply with the minimum standards laid out in the US’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

Despite this recognition from the US State Department, which said it expected Taiwan to become a “regional model,” it still made nine recommendations to improve the situation, which reflected long-term social problems, Luo said.

One of those was the lack of legal protection for immigrant workers, especially caregivers and domestic helpers, who suffer from a different form of exploitation, an issue that has also been highlighted in other international reports on human rights.

The Council of Labor Affairs has presented a draft household workers’ act to the Cabinet for discussion, but Luo would not say when review of the bill would be completed and it could be sent to the legislature for deliberation.

“There are many issues involved in the act and they are all complex. For example, it is difficult to implement labor inspections in private homes. In other words, we need to brainstorm and come up with a feasible way of protecting those workers susceptible to abuse abroad,” she said.

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