Policies & Regulations The President has promulgated related amendments of the Labor Standards Act pertinent to the "Five-Day Work Week" with the exception of articles with specific dates of implementation
The President promulgated the amendments to the Labor Standards Act on December 21, 2016. With the exception of Article 34, of which the date of implementation shall be otherwise specified by the Executive Yuan, as well as Articles 37 and 38, which became effective on January 1, 2017, the remaining articles (Articles 23, 24, 30-1, 36, 39, 74 and 79) went into effect on December 23, 2016. Highlights of these amendments include:
1. Employers shall provide employees with wage calculation details when making wage payments. (Article 23)
2. Wages for duties performed on rest days are increased, and these additional working hours are added to the overall monthly hours of overtime work in order to avoid overwork. (Article 24 and Article 36)
3. A rest interval of at least 11 hours between shifts shall be made available to workers on rotation. (Article 34)
4. Regulatory foundations for the five-day work week are systematically established while taking into account the varying needs of workers in different sectors. (Article 36)
5. National holidays are reverted in accordance with the consistent guidelines set forth by the competent authority of internal affairs. (Article 37)
6. Worker rights to annual paid leaves are improved and enhanced. (Article 38)
7. Complaint cases are to be effectively processed while enhancing the protection of the rights of workers who issued complaints. (Article 74)
8. Increased penalties. (Article 79)
Calculators for annual paid leaves (http://kmvc.mol.gov.tw/Trail_New/html/RestDays.html) and overtime pay (http://labweb.mol.gov.tw/) have both been updated and are available online; for more details on the amendments, please refer to the Ministry's official website/FAQ (http://www.mol.gov.tw/service/19851/19852/19861/30631/).
Key words: Amendments to the Labor Standards Act; wage; working hours
Policies & Regulations From 2017, four new categories shall be added to the labor insurance health examination for prevention of occupational diseases to enhance labor rights
According to the Ministry of Labor, four categories of tasks with special health hazards including "bromopropane", "1,3-butadiene ", "formaldehyde" and "indium and its compounds" have been added to the labor insurance health examination for prevention of occupational diseases since Jan. 1, 2017. Following these additions, the number of categories covered by the labor insurance health examination for prevention of occupational diseases reaches a total of 31.
In order to ensure worker health and facilitate the early diagnosis of occupational diseases, labor insurance health examination for prevention of occupational diseases now includes all 31 categories of tasks with special health hazards as listed in the Labor Health Protection Regulations. Insured persons of labor insurance who are actually engaged in those tasks with special health hazards and have remained under insurance coverage for at least one year consecutively in recent enrollment can proceed to designated hospitals for health examinations by presenting health examination certificates issued by the Bureau of Labor Insurance, after applications submitted by the insured unit have been vetted and approved by the Bureau. The insured persons are only required to pay for registration fees as examination fees shall be covered by the Bureau of Labor Insurance.
The Ministry of Labor reminds insured units to take advantage of the labor insurance health examination for prevention of occupational diseases as much as possible. In case insured units fail to apply for the health examination for prevention of occupational diseases as required by regulations, insured persons can also submit their applications directly to the Bureau of Labor Insurance to ensure their personal rights. For more detailed information, please contact the Bureau of Labor Insurance (Telephone: 02-2396-1266; address: No.4, Sec. 1, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei City; website http://www.bli.gov.tw).
Key words: Occupational diseases; health examination; operations posing risks to health
News Outlook 2016 Foreign Workers Management and Utilization Survey Results and Statistics
The 2016 Foreign Worker Management and Utilization Survey was conducted to collect data regarding the management, utilization and general working conditions of foreign workers by employers from both productive industries (Manufacturing and Construction) and private households. Survey results and statistics, which will be used as policy-making references for the future introduction and management of foreign workers, are summarized as follows:
1. The average monthly wage of foreign workers employed by productive industries in June, 2016 reached NTD 25,440, while the average monthly wage of foreign family caregivers was NTD 19,643.
2. The average working hours of foreign workers employed by productive industries in June were 210.7 hours, 177.4 hours of which were normal working hours while the remaining 33.3 hours were overtime hours. Their average leave days were 8.0 days.
3. The average actual working hours of foreign family caregivers were 9.8 hours per day. 93% of foreign family caregivers were able to rest for more than 8 consecutive hours per day.
4. 99.9% of foreign workers employed by productive industries were insured by their employers. Among the insurance policies, Labor Insurance accounted for 99.1%. 99.8% of foreign family caregivers were insured by their employers. Among the insurance policies, National Health Insurance accounted for 96.2%.
45.9% of productive industries and 36.6% of private households hiring foreign workers encountered troubling problems relating to 5. the management and utilization of foreign workers, with "communication difficulties in language" cited as the most common reason.
Key words: Foreign workers; foreign family caregivers; survey statistics
News Outlook To Help the Unemployed Improve Work Capabilities, the Ministry of Labor Unveils Self-organized 2017 Pre-employment Training Courses For the Unemployed
In order to help the unemployed improve or cultivate job skills that facilitate future employment, the five regional branches of the Workforce Development Agency of the Ministry of Labor administer job-oriented vocational trainings in accordance with regional industrial developments and job market demands on an annual basis. Training courses such as information and electronic applications as well as digital electronic device design are conducted to cater to higher-paying sectors based on the Ministry of Labor surveys, including electronic parts manufacturing, information, and communication. In addition, courses such as digital graphic communication and visual communication design are also conducted to cater to the currently trending cultural & creative industry.
Vocational training programs organized and conducted by the regional branches in 2017 are highly diverse and include categories such as smart automation and robots, IoT applications, plumbing and electrician, precision machinery, apparel design, landscape design, construction and interior decoration, foods and baking, logistics management and travel tourism, etc. Employment rates at the conclusion of training approached 90%.
For information on courses offered, please visit "TaiwanJobs" (http://www.taiwanjobs.gov.tw/), or dial the toll-free customer hotline number at 0800-777-888 for more information on vocational training.
Key words: Pre-employment training; vocational training; improving employability
News Outlook The Ministry of Labor Launched New Year Security Program to Enhance Labor Inspection
During Chinese Lunar New Year, there is a rise in the frequency of temporary and dynamic operations conducted by businesses and organizations for annual maintenance, cleaning and other urgent tasks. As a result, the likelihood of occupational accidents and risks associated with overwork is also relatively higher. In order to reinforce disaster prevention measures during the year-end and Chinese New Year periods, the Ministry of Labor officially launched the 32-day-long "Enforcement program for enhancing labor inspection during the Chinese New Year security period" on January 13, 2017. The Ministry of Labor hopes to supervise and urge businesses and organizations to enforce various disaster-prevention mechanisms as well as abide by related regulations on overwork prevention through measures such as enhanced inspection, promotion and guidance.
According to the Ministry of Labor, businesses tend to be extremely busy at year end and during the Chinese New Year holiday period. Employers nevertheless cannot afford to overlook the importance of labor safety and sanitary measures and prevention against overwork. For example, petrochemical and chemical plants should enhance the management of hazardous substances and hot work; construction projects should implement disaster prevention against the collapse of construction scaffolding and struts; annual factory maintenance operations should be conducted in strict compliance with approach control and undertaking management in order to prevent harm and injury. In addition to enhanced labor inspection and promotion during the Chinese New Year security period, all labor inspection units shall distribute instructions on the newly amended Labor Standards Act as well as the autonomous inspection chart for labor conditions to help businesses fully implement the updated laws and regulations.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, MOL, labor inspection is merely the last line of defense; it is the duty of employers to pay better attention to the job safety and labor conditions of their employees. The Administration also reminds employers to ensure that their safety management is enhanced so that workers can return home safely to their new year family reunions.
Key words: CNY security period; labor inspection; overwork prevention
News Outlook 2017 Global Economic Outlook & Labor Funds Investment Planning
According to forecasts by international economic institutions, the global economy is set to rebound slowly in 2017 and the U.S. will incrementally increase its interest rates, while other major economies will continue their quantitative easing monetary policies. On top of that, stock markets around the world are projected to fluctuate significantly under new Trump policies and the general election results of Germany and France. Adjustments in China's economic structure as well as the question of whether oil-producing countries will adhere to the agreement to curtail oil production will also have significant bearing on economic performances around the world.
Taiwan's domestic economic growth is swinging back into positive territory as the monitoring indicators continue to remain a green light, signaling that the economy is slowly recovering. Fundamental support for the stock market is on the increase, and relatively high yield ratios are also very tempting. However, fluctuations may become more drastic under the influence of various uncertainties, including the escalation in global trade protectionism.
In view of global market fluctuations and a low interest rate environment, the Labor Funds will continue to enhance its global diversified investment strategy in 2017 and plans for a mandate program of global socially responsible investment. Moreover, in response to increasing market volatilities, the Labor Funds planned to manage downside risk and have released the "Global ESG Quality Mix Equity Indexation Mandate" and "Absolute Return Fixed Income Mandate" in an environment where interest rates are likely to increase going forward.
Adhering to the longstanding strategies of diversified investment and surefooted deployment, the Labor Funds is devoted to performing its social responsibilities in addition to the pursuit of steady profitability. The Labor Funds will also continue to cautiously adjust its investment portfolios in keeping with the latest changes in financial situations to lower the risks associated with asset volatilities while securing stable long-term yields.
Key words: 2017 global economy; Labor Funds investment planning; global diversified investment