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Policies & Regulations Amendments to Enforcement Rules of Labor Standards Act Announced June 16, 2017

In compliance with newly stipulated regulations on the five-day work week, the Ministry of Labor issued amendments to the Enforcement Rules of the Labor Standards Act on June 16, 2017. The amendments provide explanations to the principles behind the enabling statutes and supply further clarification. The key points of the current amendments are as follows:

1. Stipulates that employers shall provide the contents and methods of wage calculation.

2. Stipulates the period of time for annual paid leave and the time at which wages for unused annual paid leave is issued at the termination of annual period; the methods for calculating wages for unused annual paid leave are as follows:

(1)Employers shall inform workers to arrange the annual paid leaves within 30 days of workers qualifying for said leave.
(2)Annual paid leave for workers can be calculated according to the annual year (starting from day the worker began employment), calendar year, academic year for those in education, or accounting year of the business unit as agreed upon by both employers and workers, or another year-long period agreed upon by both parties.
(3)At the termination of annual period agreed to by both parties or upon termination of contract, if any unused paid annual leave remains, the employer shall pay the worker their daily wages multiplied by the number of unused annual leave days.
(4)For wages paid for annual leave not taken before the termination of annual period, employers shall pay such wages within 30 days of the pay day originally agreed upon or of the termination of annual period; with regard to wages for annual paid leave not taken upon termination of contract, employers shall pay such wages in accordance with the payment period stipulated in Article 9 of the Enforcement Rules of the Labor Standards Act.

3. When an employer makes an employee work outside of statutory normal working hours or on rest days, the work is considered overtime work.

關鍵字:Annual Paid Leave, Wages, Working Hours

Policies & Regulations Wage for Unused Annual Paid Leave Earned within Average Wage Calculation Period to be Included in Average Wage Calculation

According to Article 38 of the Labor Standards Act, if a worker has unused annual paid leave because of the termination of annual period or termination of contract, regardless of the reasons for the untaken leave, employers must pay wages to workers in accordance with the number of leave days remaining; if such wages were earned within the average wage calculation period, they shall be included in average wage calculations.

The Ministry of Labor explains that Article 2, Paragraph 4 of the Labor Standards Act stipulates that the "average wage” refers to the total wages for the six months preceding the day on which an event requiring that a computation be made occurs divided by the total number of days in that period. Meanwhile, "total wages" mentioned herein refers to the total amount of wages accrued in the six months preceding the day on a computation request took place. Therefore, whether wages shall be included in average wage calculations is based on whether the worker has exerted the right to claim wages.

Regarding the wages paid at the termination of annual period for the number of untaken annual paid leave days, because the wages are calculated for the whole year, the law does not definitely stipulate how much of these wages fall within the average wage calculation period. The calculation of average wages shall be jointly decided by employers and workers. In addition, when a worker still has unused annual paid leave because of the termination of contract, the wages the employer must pay for the unused leave is considered earned after contract termination and may therefore not be factored into average wage calculations.

Key words: Annual Paid Leave Wages, Average Wages

News Outlook National Training Center for WorldSkills Competition Inaugurated in Hopes of Cultivating More Top Competitive Athletes

The National Training Center for WorldSkills Competition was officially unveiled on June 9, 2017 at the Yunlin-Chiayi-Tainan Regional Branch of the Workforce Development Agency, Ministry of Labor. Labor Minister Lin Mei-chu took the time traveling south to participate in the inauguration ceremony and expressed great hopes that the training center will become a pillar of support for athletes by strengthening their skills and mindset through more professional and diversified training methods, thereby ultimately cultivating greater numbers of outstanding competitive athletes.

Minister Lin Mei-chu stated that, in order to enhance the competitive strength of Taiwan’s national athletes, the Ministry of Labor's Workforce Development Agency has been actively planning the establishment of the National Training Center for WorldSkills Competition at its Yunlin-Chiayi-Tainan Regional Branch since three years ago. Now that the Center has been officially unveiled, it will serve as the central hub for training national athletes and coordinating related matters. In the future, the Center will also formulate a training network that spans across different regions in Taiwan to effectively integrate training resources for the planning of diversified, high density training and courses. This will effectively enhance the different capabilities of athletes and facilitate technical upgrading and attitude adjustment, thereby achieving the highest possible training benefits at the lowest of costs in the training of key professional talents for the nation.

Key words: Skills Competition, Training Center, Youth Skills

News Outlook Creating a Friendly and Healthy Workplace by Inviting Enterprises to Participate in Employee Assistance Program Courses

The Employee Assistance Program promotes the physical and mental wellbeing of workers in the workplace. Through the promotion of these programs, enterprises can help workers alleviate the problems and stress they face at work, in life, or those that arise from adverse health conditions, thus enabling workers to feel confidently and work more efficiently, stimulating their creativity and potentials, and creating positive work morale and productivity in the workplace.

To encourage enterprises in the promotion of the physical and mental health of their workers, the Ministry of Labor offers courses of Employee Assistance Programs, the focuses of which include workplace health, employee care, crisis management, and other topics, thereby providing enterprises with the professional expertise in the planning of Employee Assistance Programs.

The series of courses on workplace health train enterprises to be sensitive to signals of weakening physical and mental health among workers and provides knowledge on how to help workers relieve stress. The series of courses on employee care focus on planning supportive measures for individuals with adjustment difficulties, family needs, or other difficulties to ensure workers adjust to their jobs with greater ease, thus creating a friendly and healthy workplace.

Courses are available in Taipei City and Hsinchu City in September. For more information, please visit the Work-Life Balance website (https://wlb.mol.gov.tw/).

Key words: Employee Assistance Program, Friendly Workplace, Courses

News Outlook Summer is Peak Season for Occupational Injuries at Construction Sites, OSHA Calls on Employers to Strengthen Construction Safety

According to past statistics, summer (June to August) is the season during which occupational injuries in construction industry are most likely to occur in Taiwan. July, in particular, has a 34% higher occurrence rate compared to the annual monthly average, with accidental falls the highest in percentage among all injury types, followed by electric shocks. The Ministry of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding employers that working outdoors during summer means working in hot weather conditions under which workers sweat more and are more easily fatigued. Inadequate safety at construction sites means workers are more prone to occupational injuries. In order to effectively prevent disasters from happening, employers shall urge workers to abide by safety operation procedures (SOP) and also implement thoroughly management practices for both construction safety and health.

OSHA further states that occupational fall injuries within the construction industry result primarily from lack of safety equipment, for example because guard rails, covers, or safety nets are not installed to protect workers from openings or on roof tops and scaffolds, or because workers fail to use fall protection equipment such as safety harnesses or hard hats and so on. As for occupational injuries resulting from electric shocks, most were the result of inadequate electricity leakage protection for electrical equipment, temporary electricity equipment, or transmission and distribution lines. Employers shall furthermore pay closer attention to the physical conditions of workers during high temperature summer months and ensure that workers are given enough rest and water.

OSHA calls on small and medium size construction vendors and new construction project contractors not to disregard safety just because the construction period appears to be short or to push their luck because safety-related incidents had not previously occurred. To prevent the occurrence of the aforementioned accidents, OSHA will increase the frequency and intensity of construction site health and safety inspections and strengthen inspection counseling during the peak summer months to ensure that business entities practice appropriate construction safety.

Key words: Construction Sites, High Summer Temperatures, Construction Safety

News Outlook Ministry of Labor Continues to Improve Effectiveness of Labor Legal Aid and Help Workers Fight for Rights

In order to fully exert the functions of labor legal aid, in October 2016 the Ministry of Labor further expanded remuneration support for legal representation fees incurred by labor or trade union officers during adjudication to protect collective labor rights. The Ministry officially launched the litigation support information integration system on January 1, 2017, which further integrates information on labor litigation support in each county (city) government for more effective use of resources. The Ministry states that it began promoting the Labor Legal Aid Project in 2009 by providing remuneration and other assistance to labor attorneys and has continued to expand relevant supportive measures to reduce the difficulties encountered by workers during the litigation process. As of June 30, 2017, the Ministry had provided assistance in 19,834 cases and helped workers obtain more than NT$2.4 billion entitled to their rights.

Taiwan currently has a complete mechanism for assisting workers in the litigation process, and workers are encouraged to request mediation or arbitration when their rights and interest have been infringed upon. If a resolution cannot be reached via these means, do not give up hope. Apply to the county (city) government or Ministry of Labor for litigation assistance to ensure your interests.

Key words: Labor Disputes, Labor Litigation Support