Lax regulatory guidelines allowed many department stores to force sales clerks to work without extra pay during last week’s typhoons, labor activists said yesterday, adding that the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) should be revised to give “typhoon days” the legal equivalency of a mandatory day off.
“We could understand if people were being asked to go work to keep hospitals or the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system operating, but people will not die if they cannot go to a department store, order pizza or see a movie during a typhoon. The people who do face danger are those who are being told to go to work,” Youth Labor Union 95 director Chen Hsiao-wen (陳曉雯) said.
Typhoon days can be high revenue days for department stores, as people often go shopping when rain and winds prove less severe than expected.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
Sales Clerk Union secretary Liao Yu-wen (廖郁雯) said that during last week’s typhoons, many department stores kept normal opening hours even after local governments announced school and office closures.
Even stores that closed or delayed opening times required employees to be on stand by, an internal survey of union members said.
The same survey showed that sales clerks who refuse to work on typhoon days are generally subject fined about NT$1,000, while the vast majority of those who work receive no additional pay, she said.
“We were required to clock in by 12:30pm, only to be told 15 minutes later that we could go home, right when the wind was at it strongest,” said a woman surnamed Lin (林), who said she works in Kaohsiung’s Mega shopping center.
“When the government announces a typhoon day, a lot of workers mistakenly believe that this applies to them,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chung Kung-chao (鍾孔炤) said, adding that local governments’ work stoppages are only mandatory for civil employees.
Private-sector employees are governed by regulatory guidelines which only mandate that employers “should not” dock workers who do not come in on typhoon days without mandating penalties for employers who do not comply, he said, adding that he has proposed amendments to the Labor Standards Act to define “typhoon days” as “mandatory days off,” entitling those who work to an extra day’s pay and a compensatory day off.
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
While stereotypically considered a household pest that simply will not die, Hung Ting-yang’s (洪鼎揚) experience with Archimandrita tesselata, commonly called the peppered roach, might change a person’s mind. The peppered roach originates in South America, is omnivorous and, as it is capable of growing to 7cm to 9cm long, is a giant compared with other roaches, which have an average length of about 4cm. The peppered roach goes through six separate chrysalis stages and takes nine months to reach full maturity. Mature roaches have wings, but cannot fly and can only glide. They have an average lifespan of three years. As his
The EU’s list of safe nations to which it would reopen borders next week does not include Taiwan, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the list has not been finalized and some EU countries have highlighted the importance of “reciprocity.” The provisional list comprises Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the Vatican, the New York Times reported on Friday. The EU said it would add China, considered one of the “acceptable countries,” if it also opens its borders to EU travelers, the newspaper reported. Backed by