Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor today rejected a petition calling for a four-day work week, saying that enforcing existing provisions on working hours remains a top priority.

In May, petitions urging the government to “make Taiwan the first country in Asia to implement a three-day weekend” and “amend Article 30 of the Labor Standards Act to reduce weekly working hours” garnered over 5,000 signatures on the National Development Council’s Public Policy Online Participation Platform, surpassing the required threshold for a government response.

According to the MOL’s data, Taiwanese workers currently work approximately 2,000 hours per year. While the petition noted a decrease in 2021, workers in Taiwan still log one of the highest working hours globally.

The MOL said today the policy change would “involve legal amendments and have significant impacts on both employers and employees, as well as the overall economy, transportation, healthcare, caregiving, people’s livelihoods, and students’ rights to education. Therefore, comprehensive measures and social consensus are necessary before further discussion can take place.”

The ministry emphasized that the the government is focusing on implementing the existing provisions on working hours mandated in the Labor Standards Act. According to the Act, an employee can work no more than eight hours a day, no more than 40 hours per week, and must have at least two rest days every seven days.

Last month, Vice Premier Cheng Wen-tsan praised the proposal for its potential to “enable social innovation” but noted that “no Asian country currently has a four-day work week policy.” The MOL echoed Cheng’s view, saying that “there is still a lack of reference experience or statistical analysis regarding the administrative efficiency of government agencies, the health condition of personnel, and the impact on business development resulting from the implementation of a three-day weekend.”

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou (@thenewslensintl)

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