The Ministry of Labor of the Republic of China (Ministry of Labor) issued a ruling (Ref. No. Lao-Dong-Tiao-2-Zi 1040130451) on 31 March 2015 to amend some articles in the Required Health and Safety Facilities Standards in Workplaces for Companies Employing Female Workers for Night Work. Also, the Ministry of Labor issued a notice on 7 April 2015 of imminent amendments to the Enforcement Rules of the Labor Standards Act. The main points of the documents are as below:
I. Required Health and Safety Facilities Standards in Workplaces for Companies Employing Female Workers for Night Work
A. In light of the increasing number of female workers are being employed in positions where they must work in night shifts at locations other than the employer's workplace, such as for journalists, insurance salespersons, drivers, and real estate agents, these amendments will require employers to fulfill health and safety-related responsibilities in order to better protect female workers who work outside at night:
- Hazard identification prior to work;
- Disclosure to employees regarding environmental hazards in the workplace including the formulation of preventive measures;
- Implementation of health and safety education and training;
- Provision of personal protection items such as whistles or pepper spray if necessary.
B. Any employer that fails to fulfill the above responsibilities shall be fined NT$20,000 to NT$300,000 in compliance with Subparagraph 1, Paragraph 1, Article 79 of the Labor Standards Act.
II. Enforcement Rules of the Labor Standards Act
- To be in line with the amendment to Article 28 of the Labor Standards Act dated 4 February 2015, the employer's legally mandated contribution to the arrear wage payment fund can be used to pay workers' wages in arrears up to an employee's 6 months of wages.
- The employer's legally mandated contribution to the arrear wage payment fund can be used to pay workers' outstanding retirement payment and/or severance pay up to an employee's 6 months of average wage.
- Pertaining to the amendment to Article 56 of the Labor Standards Act, an employer shall appropriate a certain sum of money every month as the reserve fundfor retirement benefit for workers. Before the close of each year, an employer shall check and estimate whether the balance of reserve fund is sufficient to pay the total amount of retirement payment of workers eligible for retirement next year. The calculation of aforementioned balance of reserve fund shall be conducted in accordance with the following standards as specified by the Labor Standards Act:
1. Number of retiring workers:
The number of workers employed at the end of the year whose seniority is all or partially covered by the old pension scheme, and who will meet the retirement requirements specified in the Labor Standards Act at the end of next year.
Calculated from the date of hiring to the end of the next year.
3. Average wage:
One month of average wage calculated at the end of the relevant year.