New regulations cutting the number of public holidays should be dropped, labor rights advocates said yesterday, adding that people would lose overtime pay.
“The Ministry of Labor wants to cut the number of public holidays from 19 to 12, even though the nation is far from a five-day working week,” Taoyuan Confederation of Trade Unions chairman Chuang Fu-kai (莊福凱) said at a protest outside the Executive Yuan.
The ministry announced the cuts following the passage of amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) limiting weekly working hours, stating that the reduction in public holidays would bring people in line with workers who already have a five-day working week.
Employers were previously required to give the additional holidays if workers were not given two days off every week.
Chuang said the amendment does not mandate a five-day working week, allowing employers to ask people to work six days per week, provided they do not go exceed the 44 hour weekly cap.
“Civil servants know how to draft great benefits for themselves, but they do not treat workers like people,” he said, adding that there are still gaps in the annual leave mandated for civil servants and workers.
Figures provided by labor rights advocates showed a difference ranged between zero and 14 days depending on seniority, with civil servants acquiring additional leave days more quickly than other workers.
Taiwan Higher Education Union director Liou You-syue (劉侑學) said that the average work hours in Taiwan are the third-highest globally, adding that rather than slashing public holidays, the number of holidays should be increased.
Cutting the number of public holidays would also have an economic impact by cutting overtime rates, he said.
Employers are required pay double-time for those who work on public holidays, while regular overtime only warrants a 30 percent premium over regular pay, he said.