The Legislative Yuan (Taiwan's legislature) is in the process of amending the Labor Standards Act to implement a five-day work week and to offer same number of national holidays to the entire workforce (both civil servants and other workers). The followings are summaries from different proposals to the amendment.
- Amendment Proposal from the Kuomintang (KMT, also Chinese Nationalist Party)
Workers should have at least two regular days off in every seven days (e.g. Saturdays and Sundays). Except for the occurrences of natural disasters, accidents or other emergencies, employers shall not ask their employees to work on their days off even if the workers or the labor-management meetings have given consent to such schedule. Violators of the Article will be fined between NT$20,000 and 300,000 by the competent authority. When employers ask their workers to work on their days off in the case of natural disasters, accidents or other emergencies ("Emergency"), workers should be paid double time and receive compensatory leave. For example, say a worker earns a monthly salary of NT$60,000 (or a daily wage of NT$2,000) and his/her regular off-days are Saturdays and Sundays, when his/her employer asks him/her to work on a Saturday because of the Emergency, this worker should receive his/her regular daily wage of NT$2,000 with another NT$2,000 for his/her work of that day. This worker should also get a day of compensatory leave.
- Amendment Proposal from the Ministry of Labor
Workers should have at least two days off in every seven days; one of which is a regular day off (e.g. Sundays)and the other is a regular rest day (e.g. Saturdays). The followings are exceptions to this rule:
- For workers who work under the two-week flexible working-hour system, workers should have at least one regular day off in every seven days and at least four days of regular days off and regular rest days in every two weeks.
- For workers who work under the eight-week flexible working-hour system, workers should have at least one regular day off in every seven days and at least 16 days of regular days off and regular rest days in every eight weeks.
- For workers who work under the four-week flexible working-hour system, workers should have at least one regular day off in every seven days and at least eight days of regular days off and regular rest days in every four weeks.
An employer is prohibited from asking employees to work on the regular day-off unless owing to the Emergency. Although an employer may ask employees to work on a regular rest day, provided that the rates for working on a regular rest day should be higher than those for overtime work on normal working days. Except for the overtime hours caused by the occurrences of the Emergencies, the maximum number of overtime hours that an employee may work every month is 46 hours, and hours worked on a regular day also count as overtime hours.
When employers ask their employees to work on a regular rest day, the calculation of overtime pay for working on that day is that the hourly-wage for the first two hours should be at least 1 and 1/3 times the regular hourly rate; starting from the third hour, the hourly rate should be at least 1 and 2/3 times the regular hourly wage. Hours worked under four hours should be counted as four hours; hours worked between four to eight hours should be counted as eight hours; and hours worked between eight to 12 hours should be counted as 12 hours. For example, say a worker earns a monthly salary of NT$60,000 (or an hourly wage of NT$250), and his/her regular rest day is on Saturdays; when he/she works on a Saturday for only two hours, the hours worked should still be counted as four hours. Therefore, his/her overtime pay for that day is NT$1,500 (First two hours: NT$250 x 2 x 1 1/3 plus the third and fourth hours: NT$250 x 2 x 1 2/3).
The calculation formula for overtime pay on a regular day off is the same as the KMT proposal.
Workers will enjoy the same number of national holidays as civil servants in accordance with the dates of the public holidays are published by the Ministry of the Interior but have additional public holiday for May 1, Labor Day.
The Legislative Yuan (the legislature) is planning to hold special session to review these two amendment proposals. Which proposal the legislature will approve remains unknown.
Flexible Arrangement for "At Least One Regular Day Off in Every Seven Days"
According to Article 36 of the Labor Standards Act, "A worker shall have at least one regular day off in every seven days." According to the judicial interpretation of Article 36—the Ministry of the Interior Order (75) Tai-Nei-Lao-Tzu No. 398001—when necessary, employers are allowed to schedule workers' off-day on any day of the seven-day workweek cycle with consent from the workers or the labor union. In other words, workers are not required to have at least one day (24 hours) off after working six days in a row. That is, in the most extreme case, employers can first give one day off to workers, and then ask them to work 12 days in a row before giving them another day off. Such arrangement is also in compliance with Article 36 of the Labor Standards Act. Although the judicial interpretation of Article 36 mentioned above was nullified on June 29 by the Ministry of Labor, the Executive Yuan (the Cabinet) on July 30 asked the Ministry of Labor to release a new set of interpretative rules and standards of decision for Article 36 in two months for all industries. Therefore, if workers or unions give consent to such schedule, employers currently will not be fined for the violation of Article 36 when their workers don't have at least one day off after working six days in a row.