Premier Lin Chuan gestures during a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Employers would not have had any problems implementing the “one fixed day off and one flexible rest day” policy if they had been complying with the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) all along, Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said yesterday.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus and Nantou County Commissioner Lin Ming-chen (林明溱) on Thursday said that the central government should take responsibility for the public’s complaints about the new labor policy and asked for more “flexibility” for employers.
The policy has significantly increased costs in the ready-mixed concrete industry, while relations between workers and employers have deteriorated, Taiwan Ready-Mixed Concrete Association chairperson Chu Jui-lu (朱瑞爐) said.
“Many businesses might fold this year. We might witness a wave of bankruptcies,” Chu told the Chinese-language Economic Daily News.
Lin said that many businesses have been stoking tensions by mentioning problems related to general management, many of which were not caused by the policy, “but due to that [the businesses] did not closely follow the Labor Standards Act in the past.”
The government’s follow-up to the act’s implementation and its examination of the problems reportedly caused by the policy has shown that the problems mostly arose from lax execution of the labor law prior to its amendment, the premier said, adding that the government would continue to monitor the effects of the policy and communicate with the public.
The Ministry of Labor yesterday announced that the logistics industry will be allowed flexibility when applying Article 30, Paragraph 3 of the act, which stipulates that employers, with prior consent from the relevant unions, can distribute the regular working hours over eight weeks, provided that the regular working time does not exceed eight hours per day and the total number of working hours do not exceed 48 hours per week.
It would collect opinions regarding the measure, it said.
Asked about the proposed relaxation and whether other industries would be given similar flexibility, the premier said he would respect the ministry’s decision.
However, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) said the government should set “a final tone” instead of using executive orders to relax prohibitions that it established, “which leaves everyone baffled.”