Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ministry to ‘tweak’ 40-hour-workweek law

Ministry to ‘tweak’ 40-hour-workweek law

DOUBLE PAY:In addition to double pay for people who work on ‘vacation’ days, the labor ministry said that the number of public holidays should be the same for everyone

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter
Employers are to be obligated to pay employees double wages for working on regular days off under new Ministry of Labor draft legislation aimed at adjusting the implementation of the 40-hour workweek, Minister of Labor Kuo Fan-yu (郭芳煜) said yesterday.
“If employees work on their vacation day, employers would be obligated to provide double pay,” Kuo said, adding that the ministry has already discussed the matter with industry representatives.
The implementation of amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) mandating a 40-hour workweek has proved controversial for failing to explicitly mandate two days off per week, with union activists also contending that existing implementation plans would lead to real cuts in workers’ overtime pay when coupled with the planned elimination of seven national holidays.
Following a Legislative Yuan resolution rejecting holiday elimination plans, the ministry last week announced that they would be temporarily dropped while it reconsiders implementation, with plans to propose new amendments to the Labor Standards Act to mandate a weekly “vacation day,” in addition to the existing weekly “official holiday.”
Unlike official holidays, workers could still work overtime on their vacation day — making calculation of overtime rates a key point of contention.
Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment Deputy Director Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛) said that the proposed double-pay rate for the weekly vacation day would be the same as that currently mandated for national holidays, adding that ordinary hourly overtime pay is now between one-third and two-thirds higher than regular rates.
“The objective is still for the number of national holidays to be the same for everyone,” Kuo said, reiterating that the ministry still plans to cut the seven national holidays as soon as new implementation plans go into effect, bringing workers’ national holidays in line with those enjoyed by civil servants.
The ministry’s version of planned amendments to the Labor Standards Acts should be ready within two weeks, he said.
Kuo said that the ministry would this month send a proposal to its minimum wage review commission to increase the hourly minimum wage by adjusting the underlying formula.
The current formula does not take into account the reduction in legal weekly work hours following the implementation of the 40-hour workweek, he said.

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