New Labor Policy may not be Suitable

By  Lam Tsz-ching (林梓晴), Chuang Li-cheng (莊立誠)

 

One regular day off and one flexible rest day under a “five-day work week” principle was launched by the Tsai government in December, 2016. The policy seemingly brings a lot of benefits to the laborers, such as guaranteeing their holidays, improving the quality of working environment, etc. However, does the “one regular day off and one flexible rest day” measure work out well in every industry?

The basic salary of tour bus drivers is low.Photo /Lam, Tsz-ching

 

One regular day off and one flexible rest day is supposed to improve the quality of working environment. Photo/Lam, Tsz-ching

The Tsai government implemented the new policy in order to enhance the labor rights.  However, it is also seen as a disguised form of forcing employers to give employees enough rest time. Chen, Jin-zhong(陳進忠), a tour bus driver of Yu Sheng International Tour Service(育昇國際旅行社), said the five-day work week principle is not suitable for some tourism workers. Most of tour groups from Mainland China spend 7 to 8 days traveling around Taiwan. Drivers and tour leaders always need to get up early to get everything ready for the customers. Especially for drivers, after they send all passengers back to hotels, they need to clean up the tour buses.

 

Bus drivers may have to work overnight as they always get ready for customers. Photo/Lam, Tsz-ching

“Honestly, the basic salary of tour bus drivers is very low, and they could only earn more money by taking more tour groups. Excessive fatigue could lead to dangerous driving. The fundamental solution to this problem is raising their basic wages, ” said Chen.

Lin, Yu-rou(林妤柔), who works at a local travel agency, said that the travel agency is faced with the problem of increasing personnel costs. The tour bus driver should regularly take days off, but there are “low seasons and high seasons”(淡/旺季) for tour agencies. Scheduling shifts for the drivers will be much more difficult. Though the operation costs will increase, they will not shift their burden onto consumers. From another point of view, the “one regular day off and one flexible rest day” policy seemingly helps to improve the quality of working environment.