Sat, Mar 11, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Labor groups call for better regulation of flexible rest days

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

The implementation of recent amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) continue to cause problems as the Ministry of Labor’s supplementary measures prove inadequate, labor groups said yesterday, calling for better regulation of “flexible rest days.”

“There has been a lot of controversy over the act’s implementation and we ask whether it has resulted in greater guarantees for workers or greater benefits for employers,” Hsinchu County Confederation of Trade Unions president Chan Su-chen (詹素貞) said.

Chan was speaking at a legislative hearing sponsored by the Workers’ Struggle Alliance in cooperation with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) and New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明).

The implementation of the “flexible rest day” policy that lowers working hours has drawn criticism from industrial associations and employers, and labor groups yesterday said that the regulations are riddled with loopholes.

Alliance member Kuo Kuan-chun (郭冠均) said employers can use compensatory leave time to circumvent strict overtime rules for work performed on a “flexible rest day.”

“The Ministry of Labor needs to clearly state that compensatory leave be granted using the same ratio for calculating overtime pay, otherwise the new overtime rules will not have any effect,” he said, adding that the ministry should also stipulate that workers can change their minds after agreeing to work on their rest day.

“If you require them to formally ask for time off, their employers could reject them,” he said, adding that employees should only be required to give advance notice to their employers in cases where work shifts are scheduled months in advance.

Taiwan Railway Union director Chou Kai (周鍇) called for the definition of the “flexible rest day” to be changed to a “calendar day” rather than any 24-hour period to force changes to the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) “shift wheel.”

TRA employees put in long overtime hours because they are denied regular weekly days off, instead following a “shift wheel” of alternating work and rest periods.

National Security Guard Industrial Union president Chang Tien-sung (張天送) called for the inclusion of security guards in legal provisions that guarantee a weekly “flexible day off,” adding that guards’ working hours have increased since the amendments came into effect due to the elimination of seven national holidays.

Security guards are one of several professions subject to exceptions to overtime and other regulations under a special provision of the act.

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