The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) on Tuesday said it will enter into discussions with Indonesian authorities who recently asked Taiwanese employers who hire Indonesian staff to match the minimum wage set by the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法).
The council said it hopes the negotiations will take into consideration the interests of both local employers and foreign workers.
The announcement followed a media report which said that the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office in Taipei had requested that employers seeking to hire Indonesian workers be “interviewed” by the office to make sure that they are hiring Indonesians directly rather than using agencies.
The request aims to avoid the situation by which employers commission Taiwanese agencies to handle hiring of Indonesian workers even though they have sourced staff directly through the Direct Hiring Service Center.
This practice pushes Indonesian agencies out of the picture while their counterparts in Taiwan can still make money.
Additionally, the Indonesian authorities want local employers to pay the minimum national wage of NT$19,047 per month — up from the current NT$15,840 — for directly hired staff.
However, household service staff who come to Taiwan via agencies would cost employers NT$15,840 a month.
According to the report, between 2008 and September last year, applications for Indonesian workers submitted to the Direct Hiring Service Center accounted for 72 percent, or 38,585, of foreign caregivers.
However, Chen Jui-chia (陳瑞嘉), an official at the council’s Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training, said that the Indonesian office’s request would result in a dual-wage system.
Chen said that if the minimum wage for direct-hire Indonesian workers is raised, employers will just use agencies instead.
This would leave workers paying up to NT$100,000 (US$3,358) in agency fees to brokers in their own country, in addition to paying Taiwanese agency fees, he added.