Epidemic Labor Breaking News: Employers cannot impose vaccination or screening mandate on employees (Taiwan)

Elizabeth Pai and Yuki Chiang

Lately, the vaccination rate and vaccine supply continued to rise in our country. Many employers who wish to continue their operations and ameliorate the epidemic’s economic impact hope that their employees could get vaccinated or at least screened. However, the following questions should be of special concern:

Q1: Can an employer mandate its employees to get COVID vaccinated?

No.

According to the Ministry of Labor’s announcement, if an employer directly or indirectly forces an employee, against their will, to get vaccinated, they would be suspected of violating ‘Compulsory Crime’ under Article 304 of Taiwan’s Criminal Code. Furthermore, if an employee is treated unfairly by the employer due to his/her non-vaccinated status, he/she may submit a report, with pertaining evidence, to respective health authorities in accordance with Article 11 and 12 of the Communicable Disease Control Act, or submit an application to the respective labor authorities for labor dispute mediation to safeguard his/her rights.

Moreover, employers shall not in any way coerce their employees to get vaccinated; rather, they should encourage their vaccination through benign communication about tightening their own health protection.

Q2: Can an employer mandate its employees for screening?

No.

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center issued the “Precautions on SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Tests for Businesses” on June 30, 2020, reminding employers to obtain employees’ consent (e.g., by signing a consent agreement) before performing rapid screening. In other words, employees can volunteer for rapid screening, but the employers cannot, by any means, force them to do so. In addition, if an employee agrees to perform rapid screening, the employer should fully inform him/her of the preventive measures following the screening, as well as information on the screening method and the reagent’s manufacturer before such screening. Furthermore, employers should ensure that the “collection, processing, and application of employees’ personal data from rapid screening” are in line with employees’ rights, guided by the principle of minimum information, and must not exceed the scope necessary for epidemic prevention purposes.

For further information, please refer to:

Ministry of Labor’s announcement on Labor Rights during epidemic:

https://www.mol.gov.tw/announcement/2099/51864/

(Latest updated:2021/7/26)

Precautions on SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Tests for Businesses:

https://www.cdc.gov.tw/Category/Page/hljw4suEPij8SUfxu31Hww

(Latest updated:2021/6/30)