The President promulgated the amendments to Articles 23, 24, 30-1, 36-39, 74 and 79 of the Labor Standards Law (hereinafter, the “Law”), which came into effect on the date of promulgation, by the Hua-Zhong-One-Yi-10500157731 Decree of December 21, 2016. However, the effective date of Paragraph 2 of Article 34 will be set by the Executive Yuan, while Paragraph 1 of Article 37 and Article 38 came into effect on January 1, 2017. The amendments are highlighted below:
1. “One fixed day off and one flexible rest day” is adopted where the overtime pay for work on a rest day will be increased:
Article 36, as amended, of the Law specifically stipulates that the holiday system of one fixed day off and one flexible rest day in every 7-day period is basically adopted. Enterprises which have adopted flexible work hours every two, four and eight weeks may allocate the number of rest days to the extent the total number of the holidays remains unchanged. For example, for an enterprise that adopts flexible work hours every two weeks, there should be at least one fixed day off for workers in each 7-day period. However, there should be at least 4 fixed days off and flexible rest days, and this is not limited to the requirement that there should be two rest days for each 7-day period. However, the overtime hours during rest days are included in the 46-hour upper limit of the monthly overtime hours. Article 24 as amended provides that for a worker working on a rest day, at least one and one third of the regular hourly wage will be additionally paid if the work lasts within 2 hours; and, in if the work continues for less than 2 hours, at least one and two thirds of the regular wage will be additionally paid. If the work does not exceed 4 hours, it will be treated as 4 hours; if the work falls between 4 and 8 hours, it will be treated as 8 hours; and if the work falls between 8 and 12 hours, it will be treated as 12 hours. This portion of the amendments came into effect on the day of its promulgation.
2. National holidays shall be designated by the Ministry of the Interior with 10 types of national holidays and 12 off days:
Article 37, as amended, of the Law stipulates instead that all memorial days, festivals and the Labor Day designated as off days by the Ministry of the Interior and other off days designated by the central competent authority shall be off days. Therefore, the Rules for Implementing Memorial Days and Holidays prescribed by the Ministry of the Interior provide for 10 types of national holidays and 12 off days, including (1) New Year’s Day (January 1), (2) Peace Memorial Day (February 28), (3) Chinese New Year’s Eve, (4) three Chinese New Year days (January 1 through January 3 in the lunar calendar); (5) Children’s Day (April 4); (6) Tomb Sweeping Day, (7) Labor Day (May 1); (8) Dragon Boat Festival (May 5 in the lunar calendar); (9) Mid-fall Festival (August 15 in the lunar calendar); and (10) National Day (October 10). This portion of the amendments came into effect on January 1, 2017.
3. Number of special leave days are increased and the right to convert untaken leave days into wages is specifically stipulated
Article 38, as amended, of the Law provides that 3 special leave days shall be granted for workers who have worked for 6 months to 1 year; 7 days for 1 to 2 years; 10 days for 2 to 3 years; 14 days for 3 to 5 years; 15 days for 5-10 years; and for workers who have worked for over ten years, one additional day will be granted for each additional year until a maximum of 30 days are reached. It is also specifically stipulated that special leave shall be arranged by the workers and the employers may only negotiate for adjustment out of urgent operating needs of the enterprises. For untaken special leave days at the end of a year or upon termination of the employment contract, the employers shall pay wages. In addition, the employers are required to specify the special leave days and the wages paid for untaken leave days in the payroll register and to inform the workers in writing regularly. When workers assert their rights under this article, the employers who do not think the rights exist shall assume the burden of proof. This portion of the amendments came into effect on January 1, 2017.
4. Whistle-blowing provisions are enhanced with increased maximum penalty.
Article 74, as amended, of the Law additionally stipulates: “Unfavorable sanctions such as termination, demotion or wage reduction imposed by employers on employees as a result of their complaints shall be legally invalid,” and “The competent authority or inspection agency shall notify the complaining worker in writing of the handling status within 60 days upon receipt of the complaint thereof and shall maintain the strict confidentiality of the identity information about the complainant.” For any violation of provisions concerning wages or work hours under the Law Standards Law, the maximum penalty is increased to NT$1 million. A competent authority may also intensify the penalties by up to 50% of the maximum statutory penalty (i.e., NT$1.5 million), depending on the size of the enterprise, the number of people involved in a violation or severity of the violation. This portion of the amendments came into effect on the day of its promulgation.
5. Workers on shift shall be entitled to at least 11 hours of rest between shifts with the effective date to be separately set by the Executive Yuan.
Article 34, as amended, of the Law additionally provides that workers on shift shall be entitled to at least 11 continuous hours of rest between shifts. The effective date shall be separately set by the Executive Yuan.