Labor activists yesterday expressed skepticism about a Ministry of Labor plan intended to better protect the vacation rights of foreign caretakers.
On Saturday, the ministry said that it planned to allow families who employ foreign caretakers to apply for respite care services — short-term assistance from public sector or nonprofit caretakers to care for elderly or ailing family members.
By allowing families with foreign caretakers — who mostly come from Southeast Asian nations — to apply for respite care for 14 to 21 days a year, the ministry said the plan would ease foreign caretakers’ workloads.
A survey published by the ministry on Friday found that more than 70 percent of foreign caretakers in Taiwanese households receive no vacations or days off, while the remaining 30 percent receive an average of 1.1 days off per month.
However, labor activists said they were skeptical, saying that the plan failed to address a number of fundamental problems.
Labor activist Chen Hsiu-lian (陳秀蓮), a member of the Taiwan International Workers Association, said that the plan would do little to guarantee days off for foreign caretakers, as employers would not be legally obligated to provide time off.
Chen said that the ministry should work toward establishing regulations that ensure foreign caretakers get at least one day off every week, instead of expecting employers to apply for respite care services on their own.
“We are not sure what the ministry wants: respite for employers or respite for the migrant workers,” Chen said, adding that without legal protection of vacation rights, the plan might just be a way for employers to take advantage of public resources.
She added that an income cap should be observed for applicants for respite care services, as wealthy families should be able to afford the services of part-time Taiwanese caretakers on their own — therefore allowing foreign caretakers to rest.
Currently, household caretakers in Taiwan — domestic and foreign — are not covered under the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), which stipulates a maximum of 84 work hours per two weeks.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up