What is the problem of labor law in Taiwan?

By Chang, Chih-yu(張芷瑜)

The statistics from The Minstry of Labor(勞動部)shows that the employment numbers of manual labor, which need to consume physical and strength, such as manpower services, building and landscape activities are taking a big share of the labor force.

Labor employment and salary statistics. Source/The Ministry of Labor(勞動部)

A manpower service is mainly to supply labors to the clients. Sometimes a company needs some temporary when a company wants to cut manpower costs, it will need them. However, this hiring relationship that is formed among three parties — worker, job broker and business owner — is more complex than it seems, not to mentioned labors who may need to work in a high-risk environment. Chiu, Chun-yen(邱駿彥), who has taught at Private Chinese Culture University(文化大學) department of law, said the  Labor Insurance Act stipulates that if an employer hired more than five persons then he/she must have them covered by the government’s labor insurance program. However, the leader of the building site sometimes might gather less than five persons to work for him. The good news is the employer still need to shoulder the responsibility for the accident. People should know their rights under the Occupational Accident Labor Protection Act(職業災害勞工保護法).

Professor Chiu, Chun-yen (邱駿彥 ) teaches labor law. Photo/Chiu, Chun-yen(邱駿彥)
Professor Chiu, Chun-yen (邱駿彥 ) teaches labor law. Photo/Chiu, Chun-yen(邱駿彥)

People might think that most of temporary manual labors enjoy higher daily wages than regular workers. However, they don’t have any guarantee for their job. “Some Manpower Services might claim bankruptcy when something unexpected happened,” Chiu said. There are some disputes between temporary manual labors and their two employers– contractor and “top boss”. First, the manpower service and the company could easily shirking responsibility. Second, sometimes the workers will be paid by checks, which can’t be cashed after they have done the work. Chiu indicated that Taiwan needs a “Dispatched Employment law” to solve problems and to protect those manual workers’ rights. He also advocated that Article 6 in the Labor Insurance Act should be revised so that even if you only have one staff member, you still need to give your employee labor insurance coverage.

It is evident that legislators and government officials know these problems. But why the law can’t be changed or new one enacted? Chiu said it might cause the trade unions and business association lose their benefits, furthermore, our government has employed many temporary workers. Honestly, there are so many obstaclesthat the manual workers have to surmount to ensure their rights. Temporary workers or regular ones, like us, are just  making efforts to earn a living

They deserve to be completely protected by law and our government.