By Hsu, Yu-shan（許毓珊）, Liu, Chia-yu（劉家瑜）
After President Tsai Ing-wen took office last year, her government implemented the Five-day Work Week Plan （一例一休）, under which workers enjoy a regular day off and a flexible rest day per week. The policy aims to reduce work time and increase overtime pay for workers, which seem to be a boon to them. But how has it actually affected media industry workers?
Starting last October, all the employees in Taiwan must have 1 day off after working for 6 days. That is to say, all companies in Taiwan have to adjust their employees work time from 8 days off per month to 2 days off per week. There must be 1 regular day off and 1 “rest day ” in a week. If employees work on regular days off, employers have to give call-back pay; on rest days, employees cannot do any work according to the Labor Standards Act.
To the question of whether the policy improved reporters’ work environment or not, Chen Shu-chiang（陳蜀強）, a TV Journalist in Taiwan Television（台灣電視台）said that it does. Big companies are warned by the authorities about labor inspection. So the Five-day Work Week Plan has reduced reporters’ work time from 16 hours to 11 hours every day. Before the policy was announced, most of reporters’ night shift was from 8:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. of the next day. After the policy was launched, many companies like Sanlih E-Television Inc.（三立電視台）and Formosa Television Inc.（民視）, started to adopt a new night shift system—from 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. to midnight or 1:00 a.m. the next day, ”said Chen.
Talking about the days off of reporters, Chiang Meng-chien（江孟謙）, a reporter in United Daily News Group said, “In the past, we can accumulate our leaves and plan to travel within six months; under the new policy, we need to take some days off within one month. It’s a significant influence on me.” However, in addition to the problem of days off, Chiang doesn’t think the new policy has affected him much. For him, the media industry works in a “responsibility system,” with no overtime problem – journalists need to finish their work but if there is nothing important happening, they can do what they want. Compared to other jobs, the working time of reporters are relatively free and flexible. “Media work is different from other jobs; the government should consider more when making policies,” said Chiang.
Facing the new work rules, reporters serving in traditional newspapers are actually overloaded because nowadays internet environment requires real-time news, said Lee Chih-te（李志德）, director of News Department of the Public News Service. To adjust the shift system more properly, Public News Service’s News Department decided to practice “2 regular days off plus 2 rest days in 2 weeks”（兩周變形工時） that the policy allows. However, he keeps a positive attitude on “one regular day off and one flexible rest day （一例一休）” though the policy decreases the flexibility on employees taking shifts. “In the long term, I consider it is a good policy for the career development to a reporter,” said Lee（李志德）.
Different jobs have different features. How to calculate the salary when an unusual condition happens? When big events happen, most of reporters are willing to go back to work; they do not think that they are working overtime. Does it count as overtime or not? It really confuses both employers and employees. The biggest problem now is that details of the Labor Standards Act have not yet been announced. Mayors of the six municipalities are still waiting for a reply from the central government.