Labor Law Amendments: Cabinet’s passage of bill defies transparency: KMT

‘MAGNET OF CONTROVERSY’::Hung called on Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan to stop the legislature from endorsing a bill that infringed upon procedural justice

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Nov 11, 2017 - Page 3

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said the Executive Yuan’s hasty passage of a draft amendment to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) on Thursday runs counter to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration’s pledge to build an “open and transparent government.”

In an effort to ensure openness and transparency in government, the DPP administration issued a regulation in September last year stipulating that draft legislation drawn up by government agencies need to be made available to the public for at least 60 days for review and the gathering of opinions, KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said.

“Despite the pledge, the draft amendment to the Labor Standards Act was passed by the Executive Yuan only eight days after it was released for public review. This is clearly a violation of the 60-day rule and a black box operation,” Hung told a news conference at the KMT’s headquarters in Taipei.

The amendment is the only one of 66 bills passed this year that failed to comply with the 60-day requirement, he said.

The draft legislation would raise the ceiling for consecutive work days from six to 12 days and would also allow businesses to reduce the minimum rest time between shifts from 11 hours to eight hours with the consent of employees or their workers’ union.

It would also permit a one-year extension for any unused annual leave.

The legislation was drafted amid continued protests from businesses against an amendment passed by the DPP administration in December last year that introduced a contentious five-day workweek with “one fixed day off and one flexible rest day.”

The system ensures workers at least one day off after every six days worked and requires employers to offer better overtime pay for staff.

However, some companies and workers have said that it makes personnel scheduling less flexible, increases costs and robs staff who want to earn more money by working overtime the opportunity to do so.

“The draft amendment could affect the nation’s 9.5 million workers and is a magnet of controversy, but the Cabinet nevertheless passed it only eight days after its publication,” Hung said. “Why is the DPP administration suddenly in such a hurry?”

The government originally stipulated only a seven-day public review period for draft bills, which was extended to 14 days by former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration and then to 60 days by the DPP government, he said.

Hung urged Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) to refrain from letting the legislature endorse a draft amendment that infringed upon procedural justice.