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Policies & Regulations Labor Standards Act Regulations Regarding the Confidentiality and Processing of Violation Complaints Issued, May 15, 2017

In order to comply with Article 74 of the Labor Standards Act, amended on December 21, 2016, the Ministry of Labor issued the Labor Standards Act Regulations Regarding the Confidentiality and Processing of Violation Complaints on May 15, 2017. The regulations specify the regulations in ensuring the confidentiality of violation complaints and other related matters.

As pointed out by the Ministry, Article 74 of the Labor Standards Act not only states that "a worker, upon discovery of any violation by the business entity of the Act and other labor laws or administrative regulations, may file a complaint to the employer, competent authorities or inspection agencies", and that "the competent authority or the inspection agency shall keep the identity of the complainant confidential and shall not disclose any information which might reveal the identity of the complainant." Article 74 also authorizes the Ministry to establish regulations regarding the confidentiality of reported complaints and other matters that must be complied with. The regulations the Ministry announced today include detailed provisions on submission of reported complaints, notification of complaint processing, confidentiality of complainants' personal information, and management of relevant files. This allows the competent authority or inspection agency to guarantee confidentiality and comply with relevant regulations when processing reported complaints.

The Ministry stressed that the stipulation of these regulations will lead to more thorough treatment of labor complaints, strengthen the level of confidentiality for complainants, reduce the risks of and concerns about leaks, and better safeguard workers' rights and interests.

Key words: Labor Standards Act, Complaints, Confidentiality

Policies & Regulations Regulations Regarding Foreign Workers' Home Leave Announced, April 18, 2017

To comply with the amendment to the Employment Service Act announced on November 3, 2016, the portion of Article 52 requiring foreign workers whose work permits have expired to leave the country for one day if they wish to return to be rehired was removed, and the right for foreign workers to take a home leave was ensured. In order to comply with these regulations, the Ministry of Labor has formulated the Regulations Regarding Foreign Workers' Home Leave and released them on April 18, 2017. The Regulations specify the method for a foreign worker to take a home leave, leave duration, procedures and other relevant regulations.

According to Article 52 of the Employment Service Act, when a foreign worker requests for home leave during the employment permit period, the employer shall give his/her consent. In order to protect the rights and interests of foreign workers to take a home leave, foreign workers with effective employment permits who have obtained annual paid leave in accordance with the Labor Standards Act or their labor contracts may use this leave to freely schedule trips to their home countries, and the employers shall give consent. In the events that the employer encounters urgent business needs or the care receiver is in pressing need for care, the employer may negotiate with the foreign worker to reschedule the worker's period of leave and return dates. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the employer must grant the foreign worker their originally scheduled period of leave. Foreign workers who request other leaves, such as marriage leave, funeral leave, or personal leave, for purposes of returning and visiting relatives, are subject to the relevant regulations under the Labor Standards Act, the Act of Gender Equality in Employment, and/or their labor contracts.

The Ministry of Labor reminds employers that local labor authorities will impose penalties on them in accordance with the law if they violate the home leave regulations.

Key words: Home Leave, Annual Paid Leave, Article 52 of the Employment Service Act

Policies & Regulations Workers Who Have Received Old-Age Benefits Can Still Enroll in Occupational Injury Insurance upon Return to Work

In order to strengthen the job security for senior and middle-age workers, the Ministry of Labor has ordered the loosening of previous restrictions on those receiving old-age benefits of labor insurance and those over 65 years of age receiving social security old-age benefits from civil servant and teacher insurance or military personnel insurance. Now, these workers can still apply for occupational injury insurance with their insured unit if they return to work.

The Ministry further explained that the above provisions were relaxed in order to promote reemployment of senior and middle-age workers, in consideration of the fact that many still need to work even after they have applied for old-age benefit. There exists the possibility of occupational injury regardless of the person's occupation. In many recent occupational accidents, victims involved were unable to claim occupational insurance payments, because they went back to work after having applied for labor pensions and their employers did not enroll them in the occupational injury insurance. The Ministry is therefore reminding insured units who employ such workers that these workers are still eligible for enrollment in the occupational injury insurance. This will ensure workers' rights to paid compensation for occupational injuries, while also reducing employers' burden with regards to compensation. This creates a win-win for both employees and employers.

The Ministry has continued to strengthen publicity efforts through various channels in order to prevent employers from not enrolling eligible workers because of unfamiliarity with the law. The Bureau of Labor Insurance has also taken the initiative to send out notices about the relevant regulations to insured units, in order to protect the interests of both employers and employees.

Key words: Senior and Middle-age Workers, old-age benefit, Occupational Injury Insurance

News Outlook 2016 End of Year Overview of Foreign Professionals Working in Taiwan

In this era of globalization, outstanding human capital is an important prerequisite for countries that wish to increase their competitiveness and industrial development. In addition to cultivating talent at home, countries are also actively recruiting outstanding professionals from abroad in order to bolster domestic economic strength.

1. As of the end 2016, the number of effective employment permits for foreign professionals was 31,025 persons, up 4,227 persons (or approximately 15.8%) as compared to the same period in 2011. Men made up 77.8% of the total; women, 22.2% of the total. The number of applications for "specialized or technical works" accounted for the largest block at 58%, followed by "full-time foreign teacher in cram school" at 16%.

2. By country, the largest group of foreign professionals was from Japan, which accounted for 28% of the total; this was followed by those from the United States, at 17%; these two countries alone accounted for approximately 45% of the total. Since 2012, the number of applicants from Malaysia has increased to replace Canada as the third largest group.

3. The number of foreign professionals from the 18 countries in the New Southbound Policy made up 27% of the total, with those from Malaysia, the Philippines, and India occupying the top three places, and combining to make up 69% of the total; of these, those engaged in "specialized or technical works" ranked the highest, at 74.3%.

4. The number of foreign professionals in the education industry ranked highest at 25%, followed by the manufacturing and wholesale & retail trade industries.

5. The workplaces of foreign professionals are concentrated in the six cities of Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung, as well as in both Hsinchu City and County, accounting for 93% of the total.

Key words: Foreign Professionals, Effective Employment Permit, Foreigners Working in Taiwan

News Outlook Ensuring Safety and Health--Kickoff of 2017's Workplace Health and Safety Week

In order to raise public awareness for workplace accident prevention and workers' rights, the Ministry of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has, in recognition of the fact that April 28 is the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, co-organized the Workplace Health and Safety Forum on April 27 with the Labor Affairs Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government. Together, they jointly unveiled the beginning of the 2017's Workplace Health and Safety Week.

Director-General of OSHA Tzou Tzu-lien said that in recent years, workers have been dealing with the stress of long hours and higher workloads. In order to solidify consensus on the prevention of workplace accidents and on assuring workers’ health, OSHA has hosted annually a series of National Workplace Health and Safety Week events on or around April 28. The administration encourages participation from all sectors so all parties can work together to build a safer and healthier work environment. There were a variety of events this year. Taiwan won the right to host the 2017 Asian Conference on Occupational and Environmental Health (ACOH), which was organized by the Taiwan Environmental and Occupational Medicine Association and co-organized by OSHA and other entities. Seventeen foreign scholars and experts from countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore spoke in the forum. This forum drew on international practices to help enhance the occupational health services in Taiwan.

OSHA further emphasizes that an aging population and low fertility rates mean that ensuring a healthy workforce for the future will be the key to maintaining Taiwan's industrial competitiveness. In the past three years, OSHA has launched a system of workers’ health services , and is planning to revise relevant provisions for worker health in the near future. The administration calls on all sectors to work together with the government to provide workers with healthy, safe, and friendly work environments in order to guarantee the physical and mental wellbeing of workers and to ensure sustainable competitiveness for the country.

Key words: National Workplace Health and Safety Week, World Day for Safety and Health at Work, Asian Conference on Occupational and Environmental Health (ACOH)

News Outlook Ministry of Labor Formulates Ethical Code for the Mediation of Labor-Management Disputes and Establishes Disqualification Mechanism for Unsuitable Mediators

The Ministry of Labor said that the 2011 amendment of the new Regulations for the Mediation of Labor-Management Disputes introduced the mechanism of mediators. In order to maintain the quality of dispute mediation and in accordance with the recently amended Paragraph 1, Article 24 of the Regulations for the Mediation of Labor-Management Disputes, the Ministry has formulated the Ethical Code for the Mediation of Labor-Management Disputes. In the future, if local authorities confirm misconduct in a mediator and find that the circumstances are serious, the matter will be passed on to the Mediator Invalidation and Certification Review Team for deliberation. This regulation establishes a dismissal mechanism for unsuitable mediators and ensures that the mediation system will continue to be trusted and its authority recognized by employers, employees, and the general public.

In addition to the legal amendments, the Ministry has created a short educational video, "Types of Inappropriate Mediator Conduct". The video has been sent to local authorities to assist them in spotting misconduct. The Ministry will continue to follow up and educate mediators via dissemination, training, workshops and other administrative methods. Quality mediation will continue to guarantee workers' rights while maintaining a foundation for rapid economic growth.

Key words: Mediator, Labor Disputes, Ethical Norms