The Taiwan High Court rendered the 105-Lao-Shang-Yi-16 Civil Decision of July 26, 2016 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that workers who unilaterally extend working hours without their employer’s approval shall not claim overtime payment from their employer.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Appellant was employed by the Appellee to conduct telephone marketing. Since she worked overtime for two hours on average every day and for six hours on two Saturdays each month during her employment, she claimed overtime payment pursuant to the Labor Standards Act. The Appellee contended that pursuant to work rules, overtime work required the approval of her direct supervisor and an application for overtime payment should have been made pursuant to applicable requirements. However, since the Appellant had failed to follow the above-mentioned procedures, the fact of her overtime work could hardly be concluded and overtime payment could not be claimed.
According to this Decision, Article 24 of the Labor Standards Act specifically provides that an employer extending the working hours of workers shall pay the wages for the overtime work. In addition, Article 32 of the Labor Standards Act provides that extension of working hours requires the consent of the employer and the employee. This shows that working hours cannot be extended unilaterally. To wit, the extension of working hours unilaterally by the employer or employee shall not be legally valid. Therefore, if a worker extends working hours unilaterally without the consent of the employer, such overtime work does not meet applicable requirements. Therefore, the worker certainly cannot claim overtime payment from the employer so as to avoid infringing on the employer’s right of consent and personnel management right. If the employer unilaterally extends the working hours without the employee’s consent, this goes against the provisions of the Labor Standards Act and the employee should not be compelled to comply. However, if the employee has been actually compelled to extend working hours, the employer should certainly pay the overtime payment pursuant to the law in order to safeguard the rights and interests of the worker.
It was further held in this Decision that since the Appellant stated that none of her overtime work was approved by her direct supervisor or was engaged without prior application, even if the Appellant’s testimony on her regular overtime work was true, still she extended her working hours unilaterally without the Appellee’s approval and thus such overtime work did not meet applicable requirements. Therefore, the Appellant could not claim overtime payment. Based on the above, the appeal was dismissed since such claim was groundless and should not be granted.