The Ministry of Labor promulgated the Lao-Dong-Tiao-2-1050130327 Circular of March 8, 2016 to communicate that if a female worker indeed has no need to take care of and feed her baby with mother milk or cow milk in person at night, she may engage in night-time work in accordance with Article 49, Paragraph 1 of the Labor Standards Law after personally signing a supporting document.
Article 49, Paragraph 5 of the Labor Standards Law provides that female workers shall not engage in night-time work (between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am the following day) during lactation. A lactation period is basically one year after labor. In practice, some business organizations indiscriminately restrict female workers from night shift within one year after their labor regardless of whether they need to feed their babies with milk in person to avoid legal violations. However, this has affected employment interest of female workers after their labor. In this regard, the Ministry of Labor explains that the legislative objective of Article 49, Paragraph 5 of the Labor Standards Law is to protect female workers by ensuring their normal life schedule to facilitate their baby feeding and caring. Therefore, female workers who do not personally milk feed their babies are not covered by the provision. Milk feeding is not limited to breastfeeding and also includes feeding of cow milk. Milk feeding period is basically one year after labor, even though this shall still be determined based on the conditions of individual workers.
In addition, the Ministry of Labor further explains that an employer is obligated to substantiate whether a female worker’s night-time work meets the requirements. A statement or affidavit personally signed by the worker may serve as a supporting document which should be prepared in advanced by the employer. If an employer does not ask a female worker to supplement the proof until labor inspection, such proof will not be accepted. In addition, even though a female worker substantiates that she does not need to feed her baby with mother milk or cow milk in person at night, if she has milk collection needs in her job location at night, the employer shall provide two additional milk feeding periods every day in accordance with Article 52, Paragraph 1 of the Labor Standards Law with each milk feeding (collecting) period not exceeding 30 minutes.