Tue, Apr 03, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Social workers are being exploited, rights groups say

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Cheng Li-chiun, center, together with representatives from social workers’ groups, speaks during a press conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, calling on the government to pay greater attention to social workers’ rights.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

The basic labor rights of social workers, such as vacations, working hours and salaries, has been ignored for too long and there is no better time to voice the concerns than Social Workers Day, rights groups and a lawmaker said yesterday.

“The loving hearts and dedication of Taiwan’s social workers have been exploited and abused. People rarely think that the people who take care of the underprivileged need to be taken care of as well,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said.

Taipei Social Workers Union director Huang Ying-hao (黃盈豪) said 74.3 percent of social workers in Taiwan work overtime without pay and 76.3 percent were not given annual leave, as required by law.

They were also asked to work on weekends, work long hours and donate part of their salary to the social welfare institutions they work for, Huang said, adding that some workers are contracted on an annual basis.

“Benevolence is a heavy cross to bear for us and a lot of people take it for granted. The mindset also contributes to social workers’ overworking because they don’t allow themselves to say they are tired,” Huang said.

Taiwan Labor Front -secretary-general Sun Yu-lien (孫友聯) said those longstanding issues remained unresolved.

In some ways, Sun said, social workers do the work of the government, which has outsourced many social welfare projects.

“The solution to this issue takes more than increasing the number of personnel. Social workers are workers too and they are entitled to enjoy all the basic rights other workers enjoy,” he said.

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