Newly implemented labor laws on vacation days and the 40-hour workweek are set to have the biggest impacts on the service, old economy and retail sectors, according to the results of a survey published by an online human resources firm yesterday.
The firm, 1111.com.tw, said the new rules that took effect on Dec. 23 last year after the legislature revised the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), have seriously affected the labor market and would test the flexibility of businesses as they respond to the changes.
The survey of local businesses found that 77 percent of respondents did not fully understand the new system, while 4.5 percent said they did not understand it at all.
Of those polled, 36.8 percent said they had a partial understanding of the system, while 35.6 percent said they understood most of it, but they still had some questions.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents expected the new rules to affect their operations, including 12.2 percent that believe they would “have a big impact.”
Businesses cited “personnel cost increases,” “difficulties in meeting staffing requirements,” and “a big increase in overtime pay” as the main challenges they faced in coping with the new regulations.
Affected businesses said they were “changing their shift schedules,” “adding part-time workers,” and “hiring full-time workers” in response.
The results were part of a survey on the willingness of businesses to hire people in the first quarter of this year, with 33 percent of respondents saying they felt the economy would improve, 47 percent saying it would be about the same as last year, and 20 percent predicting the economy would get worse.
On the willingness of businesses to hire people, 61.7 percent of respondents said they intended to take on more staff in the first quarter of the year, with the companies most upbeat on headcount in the service, medical, agricultural, livestock and information and technology sectors.
The businesses identified “filling vacancies,” “regular recruitment,” and “searching for talent at a time when many people are changing jobs” as the main reasons for looking to boost staff numbers.
Under new labor rules, total maximum working hours for employees have been reduced to 40 hours per week from 84 hours every two weeks, and workers are now entitled to one mandatory day off and one “flexible” rest day per week — all measures that could increase operating costs.
Employers face much higher overtime costs if they have employees work on their “flexible” day off, and they are not allowed to have staff work on their mandatory day off, because the rules mandate that workers can work no more than six consecutive days.