The Judicial Yuan has introduced a draft act (superseding any provisions in the Civil Procedure Code to the contrary) designed to accelerate the resolution of labor disputes between employers and employees in both labor mediation and civil litigation settings.

The following are standout changes to current civil procedure that arises from this "Labor Dispute Act":

1. Applicability.

The streamlined dispute resolution process detailed in the Labor Dispute Act is available to all employees of Taiwan employers. However, Article 2 of the Labor Dispute Act limits the types of disputes that may be availed of this new process (e.g. disputes relating to labor contracts, work rules and unions).

2. Accelerated Labor Mediations

Labor mediations under the Labor Dispute Act are now capped at no more than 3 mediations involving the same dispute. Moreover, the judge is now mandated to arrange the scheduling of the first mediation between parties no later than 40 days after receipt of a mediation request.

3. Changes to Labor Mediation Committees

After the enactment of the Labor Dispute Act, all labor mediation committees will consist of 3 committee members, and the members will include 1 judge and 2 mediators appointed by the relevant court. Currently, labor mediation committees may consist of 1 or 3 committee members, appointment by the relevant court and/or the parties, with the absence of a judge.

4. Jurisdiction in Civil Litigation

Under current law, employers may only file civil suits against employers in their home jurisdiction. But pursuant to the Labor Dispute Act, employees are provided the flexibility to also file civil suits against their employers within the jurisdiction of that employee's work site or service area.

5. Preliminary Injunctions in Civil Litigation

The Labor Dispute Act creates an obligation for judges in civil litigation to inform an employee litigant that they have the right to request a preliminary injunction against their employers for continued payment of wages if the employee may otherwise have difficulty maintaining their livelihood (e.g. where the employee was terminated and has no other source of income) for the duration of the litigation process.

In addition, reinstatement of employment is now available on the grounds that the judge believes the plaintiff (employee) is likely to win their suit and the plaintiff files an application to the court seeking reinstatement.

6. Burden of Proof

Finally, the Labor Dispute Act dictates that the employees' attendance records creates a presumption that employees were on duty during the recorded times. If a dispute arises regarding actual working time, employers maintain the burden of proof to establish otherwise.