Amendments to the Labor Standards Act came into effect on 3 June 2015. In addition, the Ministry of Labor issued a directive (Lao-Dong-Tiao (3)-Zi No. 1040130706) on 6 May 2015 promulgating the "Guidelines for Off-Site Working Hours" ("Guidelines"). A summary of the main points of the documents is as follows:
I. Amendments to the The Labor Standards Act
A. Normal working hours are being shortened in response to international trends:
- Normal working hours shall not exceed 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. An employer that fails to comply with this requirement shall be fined NT$20,000 to NT$300,000 in accordance with Item 1, Paragraph 1, Article 79 of the Labor Standards Act.
- The duration that employers shall keep workers’ attendance records has been extended from one year to five years. An employer that fails to comply with this requirement shall be fined NT$90,000 to NT$450,000 in accordance with Item 3, Paragraph 1, Article 79 of the Labor Standards Act.
- The worker's attendance shall be recorded up to the minute. Should a worker request for a duplicate or a photocopy of his/her attendance record, the employer shall accede to the request. An employer that fails to comply with the aforesaid requirements shall be fined NT$20,000 to NT$300,000 in accordance with Item 1, Paragraph 1, Article 79 of the Labor Standards Act.
- Employers shall not use the reduction of normal working hours stipulated in Item 1 as a reason to reduce a worker's wages. An employer that fails to comply with this requirement shall be fined NT$20,000 to NT$300,000 in accordance with Item 1, Paragraph 1, Article 79 of the Labor Standards Act.
- If an employee needs to take care of his/her family member(s), the employer may allow the employee to adjust his/her working hours i.e, to start an hour earlier and finish an hour later, provided that the normal working hours remain the same.
The amended articles will become effective on 1 January 2016.
B. Furthermore, in response to the aforementioned amended articles,
the Ministry of Labor is planning to cancel the following public holidays provided in the Enforcement Rules of the Labor Standards Act:
The day after the Founding of the Republic of China (January 2)
Revolutionary Martyrs Day (March 29)
Confucius’ Birthday (September 28)
Taiwan Retrocession Day (October 25)
Chiang Kai-Shek’s Birthday (October 31)
Sun Yat-Sen’s Birthday (November 12)
Constitution Day (December 25)
Consequently, workers will then have the same number of public holidays (11 days in a year) as civil servants as Labor Day (May 1) will be included as a day off.
II. Guidelines for Off-Site Working Hours
A. Due to the unique working conditions of those who work outside of a traditional workplace (such as employees of the news media, contracted telecommuters, sales representatives, drivers, etc.), employers often use communication devices to assign work, which frequently creates problems. For example, normal working hours may be extended or there may be difficulty in verifying the acutal working hours and recording attendance records, etc. Furthermore, since the worker does not work in a business workplace like regular workers, both the employee and the employer may have different views on how working hours should be calculated or how the attendance record should be recorded. For the purpose of requiring employers to abide by labor regulations, and to provide off-site workers a better understanding of their labor rights, the Ministry of Labor issued the Guidelines, a summary of which is as follows:
1. Regarding the extention of working hours:
- Employers that extend the employee's working hours shall record the time the work was assigned. Workers may submit a self-recorded record of the working hours to employers for recording purposes, along with supporting evidence such as, recorded conversations, communication records, or other relevant documents.
- Employees who have to continue working after regular working hours shall report the extended working hours to the employer after the work is completed for the employers to record and retain the attendance record according to the method agreed upon by both the employers and employees.
- If an employee is often required to work overtime due to the nature of the work, the employer and the employee may agree upon a specific amount of overtime hours that do not have to be reported to the employer.
2. The stipulated methods for recording hours worked for off-site workers are not limited to attendance logs or time cards. Event data recorders, GPS records, cell phone check-in, Internet report, bills signed by clients, communication software, press release records, vehicle dispatch orders, and other devices that may be provided for verification may also be provided to verify working hours.