Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ministry eyes wage hike in September

Ministry eyes wage hike in September

HOLIDAYS:Workers’ groups blasted the ministry’s ‘one fixed day and one flexible day off’ proposal, saying businesses would find a loophole to take advantage of workers

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter
The minimum hourly pay could be raised to NT$126 in September at the earliest and a controversial amendment to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) regarding regular weekly days off could be put to a vote, Minister of Labor Kuo Fan-yu (郭芳煜) said yesterday.
The basic wage review committee is to be convened next month and if, no objections are raised, the minimum hourly wage could be increased from NT$120 to NT$126 in September, Kuo said during a legislative session yesterday.
He added that the ministry would lead by example and stop recruiting temporary workers starting next year, while its agencies would follow suit by decreasing the number of temporary employees by 3 percent every year.
Regarding controversial amendments to the Labor Standards Act that call for reducing national holidays by seven days to implement a 40-hour workweek, the ministry has proposed introducing “one fixed day and one flexible day off” to ensure that workers are granted two days off per week and compensated for lost holidays.
Workers’ groups on Tuesday protested against the new proposed rules, accusing the ministry of acting like a “thief” that steals holidays from workers.
The groups said that the flexible day off could be abused by businesses to their advantage.
Compared with holidays, on which employees must be paid a daily wage regardless of how many hours they work if asked to work, flexible days off could count as overtime, resulting in workers being paid on an hourly basis, the groups said,.
Regular hourly overtime pay on work days is better than on flexible days off according to the new rules, the groups added.
Kuo said that if the two days off were both fixed, there would not be enough flexibility to arrange working hours, a situation that is different for civil servants, whose two weekly days off can be changed to work days.
The ministry will continue to collect workers’ opinions on the issue through a poll, which will be discussed fully at the Cabinet and legislature, he added.

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