Thu, Jan 04, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Labor bills criticized by Control Yuan

TOO HASTY:The Cabinet failed to comply with a requirement that draft legislation must be made available to the public for at least 60 days so that it can be reviewed

By Chung Li-hua  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

The Control Yuan yesterday issued a correction against the Executive Yuan and the Ministry of Labor over what it called the government bodies’ hasty attempts to amend the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) less than a year after a previous amendment.

Speaking at a news conference in Taipei yesterday, Control Yuan member Chen Ching-tsai (陳慶財) said the ministry failed to factor in the social cost of rising retail prices, and the potential impact of the two proposed amendments on workers and corporations before sending the bill to the Executive Yuan for review in 2016 and last year respectively.

“That caused policymakers to make decisions based on unclear reasons, making it difficult for them to earn the understanding and respect of the public,” Chen said.

Despite the absence of a comprehensive impact assessment report and divided public opinion on the ministry’s first amendment, the Executive Yuan took only seven days to complete a review of the draft bill, which was submitted by the ministry on June 24, 2016, Chen said.

Though the purpose of the amendment was to realize a 40-hour workweek policy, Chen said statistics from the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics showed that the average monthly working hours per person between January and September last year increased from the same period the previous year.

The Cabinet also ignored the ministry’s suggestion that a sunrise clause should be inserted, which would have provided a grace period for companies and workers when the first amendment came into effect, Control Yuan member Yang Mei-ling (楊美鈴) said.

The Cabinet also failed to comply with a requirement that draft legislation drawn up by government agencies must be made available to the public for at least 60 days so it can be reviewed, Yang said.

The Cabinet approved the ministry’s second amendment only eight days after it was released for public review on Oct. 31 last year, Yang said.

“The purpose of making a major draft bill available for public review is to solicit opinions from different sectors of society. How could such a purpose be fulfilled in just eight days?” she added.

The first amendment, which took effect in January last year, introduced a contentious five-day workweek policy that was met with fierce criticism as it made personnel scheduling less flexible, increased management costs and robbed workers of the opportunity to earn more money by working overtime.

To assuage public discontent, the Executive Yuan in November approved the second amendment, which is pending legislative approval and would allow some industries to raise the maximum number of consecutive working days from six to 12 and lower the required rest time between shifts from 11 to eight hours.

Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said both draft amendments were approved by the Executive Yuan after a thorough consideration of workers’ rights and management needs.

“The content of the draft bills was not unilaterally decided by the Cabinet, as lawmakers are entitled to revise the content,” Hsu said.

Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang

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