On 9 November 2018, the Legislative Yuan of Taiwan passed the third reading of the Labour Procedure Act ("LPA"). The LPA sets out procedural requirements for labour disputes. In particular, the LPA governs the process of establishing mediation proceedings, provisional remedy proceedings, as well as litigation proceedings. Implementation of the LPA is expected to promote efficiency and fairness in the resolution of labour disputes in Taiwan.
The implementation of the LPA will streamline mediation procedures, making labour mediation more focussed and efficient. Key changes include:
- the introduction of specialised labour tribunals and mediation committees to resolve labour disputes, with mediators specialised in labour and employment law; and
- mediation proceedings are required to be concluded within three meetings.
Reforms in litigation procedure in resolving labour disputes under the LPA focus on facilitating access to justice and removing barriers to efficient and fair resolutions. Under the LPA, employees will have the right to:
- appear with an assistant at court;
- temporarily be exempted from two-thirds of court fees; and
- request their employers to produce and prepare certain documents.
In furthering the twin goals of efficiency and fairness of proceedings, changes brought about by the LPA include:
- shifting the burden of proof in labour proceedings to the employer (as it is deemed that the employer typically is typically in a better position to produce evidence);
- litigation proceedings are to be concluded in one oral argument session, avoiding overly lengthy proceedings; and
- if employees are required to pay any security to the court, the amount is capped at no more than 10% of the amount of the claim. Further, if the payment would seriously affect the employee's livelihood, the court may dismiss this requirement all together.
Procedure and process
Further processes complementary to formal mediation or litigation such as online services and form submission have been reformed. New initiatives include service offerings capable of online certification and online application, including: parental leave allowances, maternity benefits, elderly benefits, survivor benefits, early reemployment incentives and labour insurance benefits.
The reforms to the LPA strengthen Taiwan's reputation as an employee friendly jurisdiction. Employers should ensure that they are compliant with the employment requirements and, particularly when dealing with contentious matters where the burden is reversed, ensure that there is clear documentary evidence to support fair process and procedures.