The legislature yesterday enacted a law to provide better protection to vocational students who often work in below-par working environments under school-industry partnership programs.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬), who sponsored a version of the proposal, called the legislation a milestone in protecting the rights of vocational students.
The law “should have been established 43 years ago,” at the start of the partnership program, Lin said.
Over the decades, vocational students have provided cheap labor and worked long hours, without legal protection and that has helped contribute to the nation’s rapid economic development, Lin said.
The law is designed to govern the implementation of school-industry partnership programs.
Firms in partnership with schools are required to pay students a salary of no less than the nation’s minimum wage in addition to a stipend.
The law restricts daily vocational training hours to eight hours per day and eighty hours per two weeks.
In accordance with the new law, students are entitled to a 30-minute break for every four hours of work and receive a day off for every seven days of work.
Furthermore, students cannot work in training programs between 8pm and 6am or on days designated as holidays under the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法).
The law stipulated that the number of vocational students in a workplace shall not be higher than one-fourth of a firm’s total workforce, the law said.
School teachers will be required to inspect partner firms at least once every two weeks to check how their students have adapted to the vocational training programs, the law stipulated.
Violations of the rules imposed on schools would be punishable by a fine of between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000 or schools may be banned from operating training programs in cooperation with industries for as long as two years.
The punishment for a violation of the rules imposed on firms is a fine of between NT$50,000 and NT$250,000.