Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Survey shows support for changing labor law, and desire for different sets of rules

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A survey by Chinese-language weekly Business Today showed that about 54 percent of respondents supported amending the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) for the second time, but nearly 90 percent said that the government should stop using one set of rules for all sectors.

Deputy editor-in-chief Eric Lin (林奇伯) said that 54.2 percent of respondents said it is necessary to amend the act, whereas 28.1 percent said the amendment is unnecessary.

Asked whether the act should guarantee workers two days off for every 12 days they have worked following negotiations between employers and employees, 50.4 percent said that it should, while about 46 percent said that it should not.

Lin said that workers aged 20 to 29 felt strongly about such a change, with close to 54 percent saying the government should continue enforcing existing regulations on weekly rest days.

However, 42.5 percent of people in the age group said that they agreed with the proposed changes.

Meanwhile, 76.7 percent of respondents said they agreed with the proposal to allow workers to carry unused annual paid holidays over to the next year, while 23.3 percent said they disagreed.

The proposed amendments stipulate that holidays workers have accumulated in the previous year would only be valid for one more year. Workers are to be reimbursed if they fail to use up the holidays before they expire.

Nearly 65 percent of the respondents said overtime pay for work on weekly rest days should be calculated based on the number of hours employees actually work — rather than in blocks of four hours, as is the case now — while 33 percent disagreed with the argument.

About 52 percent said they supported reducing the mandatory rest time between shifts from at least 11 to eight hours, provided that employees and employers reach an agreement.

Close to 43 percent said they did not support the change.

Of the respondents, 59.6 percent said they agreed with the proposal to cap overtime hours at 138 every three months and 54 hours every month. About 34 percent said they disagreed.

Current regulations ban workers from working more than 46 overtime hours per month.

An overwhelming 88.6 percent said the government should take into account the different needs of different sectors and draw up specific chapters or regulations that apply to workers in certain job categories.

Asked under what conditions employees should be exempt from observing the regulations on overtime hours, 59.3 percent said they supported the proposal that people whose annual salary is more than 80 percent of the nation’s GDP per capita should be exempt, while 35.8 percent disagreed.

Regarding reinstating seven previously-observed holidays that were canceled after the 2016 amendments to the act, including the birthdays of Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen, Constitution Day, Teachers’ Day, Youth Day, Retrocession Day and Jan. 2, 49.4 percent said that would be appropriate, while 43.2 percent said it would be inappropriate.

If the government were to reinstate only Constitution Day and Jan. 2 as national holidays, while designating Jan. 3 a new national holiday, 68.4 percent said they would support such an arrangement, while 27 percent said they would not.

The survey, which was conducted between Dec. 29 and Jan.1, collected 1,856 valid responses from people aged 20 or older and excluded public sector workers. The results had a confidence level of 95 percent, with a margin of error of 2.83 percentage points.

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