Activists question draft labor law provision for lecturers
Activists question draft labor law provision
UNFAIR EXCLUSION:A Ministry of Education proposal could see university lecturers who take on other jobs denied protections under the Labor Standards Act, activists said
By Abraham Gerber / Staff reporter
A government plan to provide some part-time university lecturers with protections under the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) unfairly excludes lecturers who hold a second job, union activists said yesterday, questioning the legal foundation of the distinction.
“Under the new rules, you could get time off for being sick at your day job, but still be unable to claim leave for courses you teach at night,” Taiwan Higher Education Union office director Chen Shu-han (陳書涵) said, adding that a Ministry of Education proposal could see lecturers who take on other jobs denied protections under the act.
“There is no legal basis for the distinction based on whether you have another job — if you say that a particular field is within the scope of the Labor Standards Act, then the act should apply to all related workers,” she said, adding that under current rules, exceptions to the act are supposed to be based on the special nature of the work involved, ruling out distinctions between workers performing identical tasks.
Chen said the distinction would encourage schools to turn exclusively to part-time lecturers who are otherwise employed to avoid providing Labor Standards Act benefits, including various forms of special leave, contributions to lecturer’s national pensions, as well as lay-off protections and pay.
According to ministry statistics, universities employed 46,155 part-time lecturers in 2012, of whom only 8,118 did not have other jobs.
The number of part-time lecturers hired by schools has risen sharply in recent years, with schools increasingly using the part-timers to fill former full-time positions in the face of financial pressure caused by falling student numbers.
Protections against being fired have become a key issue as many schools consider downsizing.