Sun, Aug 09, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Civil servants face sack over extra jobs

EVADING SANCTION?A government official said some civil servants who operate family businesses might use a straw owner to avoid potential disciplinary measures

By Lee Hsin-fang and Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Hundreds of civil servants might be discharged from public employment for illegally holding extra jobs as a result of an investigation by the National Audit Office of government employees and public-school teachers.

The Civil Servants Work Act (公務員服務法) stipulates that public workers are not allowed to run businesses or be involved in for-profit ventures, nor are they permitted to act as board members or management staff at state-run or private businesses that the government holds a major stake in.

People found to have breached the regulations face dismissal from their government posts.

Office spokesperson Lee Shun-pao (李順保) yesterday said that it is illegal for government officials or public-school teachers to be engaged in business activities, and the office had ordered government agencies to instigate disciplinary measures where breaches were found.

The number of people improperly holding dual posts was not immediately known, as the office has yet to collect the data compiled by central government units and there is no definite timetable for the office to finalize its investigation, he said.

However, as many as hundreds of civil servants are reportedly facing dismissal, sources said.

Some government employees are working extra jobs at the behest of the agencies they are serving, while some are holding concurrent posts as permitted by law, so each case should be handled separately, Lee said.

The office in April distributed a document to government agencies nationwide requesting that inspections be conducted into public employees improperly holding extra posts, Lee said.

Management officials at each agency must discipline employees found to be working at illegal extra jobs, in accordance with the law, Lee said.

The investigation targeted suspected breaches of the Civil Servants Work Act or the Public Functionaries Discipline Act (公務員懲戒法) by public workers admitted via civil service exams, contract employees, maintenance workers and public-school teachers, he said.

Such employees are prohibited from holding directorships or management roles in non-government entities, including family businesses, Lee said, adding that any extra job that incurs commensurate reward is prohibited.

A government official, who declined to be named, said there are two major categories of public employees holding dual posts: Those who run family businesses or assume corporate management positions; and low-ranking civil servants who might operate a side business to supplement their earnings.

The unnamed official said that it would be a good thing to root out public workers illegally holding extra jobs and put an end to such practices.

Some people have reportedly acted to avoid severe disciplinary actions, the official said. For example, a maintenance worker doubling as a taxi driver would resign from a management position in a taxi company and become an employee of the company to avoid repercussions.

A public worker who owns a grocery store might look for a straw owner, while remaining the effective owner, to avoid potential disciplinary measures, the official said.

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