Mon, Jun 11, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Foreign caregivers rally for days off

IN THE CONTRACT:Migrant workers pressed the Ministry of Labor to do more to get employers to give them the one full day off per week stipulated in their contracts

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Migrant workers rally in front of the Ministry of Labor in Taipei yesterday as part of a protest organized by the Taoyuan Domestic Caretakers Union.

Photo: CNA

Dozens of migrant workers employed as caregivers rallied in front of the Ministry of Labor in Taipei yesterday morning, calling on the ministry to protect their right to have one day off — 24 consecutive hours — every seven days.

“I want days off, because I am a human being,” the crowd, mostly dressed in white, chanted during the rally organized by the Taoyuan Domestic Caretakers Union.

They held up a large, colorful “petition patchwork quilt” made by caretakers who do not get days off, with slogans written in English.

Filipina Aileen said she had worked in Taiwan for six years, but for the first three years her then-employer did not give her one day off, while many foreign caregivers are asked to work all day, every day of the year.

The association said there are about 230,000 foreign caregivers in Taiwan, and more than 60 percent have no days off.

Asking for days off is not asking for additional rights, because days off are included in the employment contracts signed by the caregivers and their employers, so the ministry should protect the caregivers’ rights and tell employers to adhere to the contracts, association chairperson Huang Tzu-hua (黃姿華) said.

Overtime pay for foreign caregivers is NT$567 per day, which many employers regard as a minimal cost, so many of them would rather pay additional money instead of letting workers have a day off, Huang said.

Caregivers should receive one day off per week, and that day should be considered a full 24 hours, during which time a worker should not have to stay at their employer’s home, Huang said.

The government should provide respite care subsidies for employers who have to hire a temporary caregiver on their regular caregiver’s days off, because existing long-term care policies currently do not allow for such financial assistance, the association said.

This means that many employers cannot afford to let workers take days off, or take trips home to see their own families, it said.

Among those supporting the foreign caregivers at the rally was Nan Kuang-yuan (南光遠), who employs a foreign caregiver.

Foreign caregivers often cannot speak for themselves because they are not citizens, so he and the association hope the government can raise public awareness to let employers know the caregivers’ right to one day off per week, as regulated by their employment contract, he said.

The ministry issued a press release at noon, saying that employment contracts for foreign caregivers are required to include one day off every seven days, so the ministry urges employers to abide by such contracts.

The labor ministry is working with the Ministry of Health and Welfare to include respite care subsidies for families with foreign caregivers, but caregivers whose rights are being infringed can call the government’s 1955 foreign workers’ consultation and appeal hotline for help, the statement said.

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