The Supreme Court rendered the 104-Tai-Shang-84 Civil Decision of January 6, 2015 (hereinafter, the "Decision"), holding that change of the agreed-upon work under an employment contract after the occurrence of an occupational hazard pertains to the issue of whether the worker can refuse to engage in such work and request the employer to compensate wages and has nothing to do with whether the original working abilities are lost.
According to the facts underlying the Decision, the original trial court upheld the first instance decision against the Appellant and rejected the appeal on the ground that since the job descriptions of the work handled by the Appellant after he returned to his work at the company after the first occupational accident were changed to light loading work such as tying up rubber bands, the Appellant should not be found to have lost the original working abilities. Dissatisfied, the Appellant filed this appeal.
Article 59, Subparagraph 2 of the Labor Standards Law provides: "When a worker cannot work during medical treatment, the employer shall compensate the wages originally received by the worker, provided that if the worker still cannot recover when two years have elapsed since the beginning of medical treatment and a designated hospital has diagnosed and determined that the worker has lost his/her original working abilities and is not qualified for disability benefits under Subparagraph 3, the employer may be released from such wage compensation responsibility after making a one-time payment of 40 months' average wage."
According to the Decision, losing original working abilities under the proviso of Article 59, Subparagraph 2 of the Labor Standards Law should refer to the inability to engage in the work under the employment contract. As for work changed under the employment contract after the occurrence of an occupational accident pertains to the issue of whether such employee can refuse to engage in such work and request wage compensation from the employer pursuant to the above requirement and has nothing to do with the whether the original working abilities are lost.
It was further pointed out in the Decision that the original trial court recognized the Appellant had not recovered from injuries sustained in the first occupational accident and had been assessed and determined by a hospital to be currently unable to engage in work involving bending, carrying heavy objects, climbing staircases, etc. and be probably unsuitable to return to work. Therefore, whether the Appellant lost working abilities should be determined based on the work stipulated under the labor contract at the time of the first occupational accident. However, the original trial court held that the work refers to the work both the employer and the employee agree to change and held the Appellant still did not lose his original working abilities since he was still perceived to be capable of handling the changed work and to carry heavy objects. Since this finding is questionable, the original decision was reversed and remanded to the original trial court.