Hundreds of Taiwanese Companies Fined for Exploiting Workers

Hundreds of Taiwanese Companies Fined for Exploiting Workers
Photo Credit:洪慈庸
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A survey shows that hundreds of companies in Taiwan violated the Labor Standards Act last year. Media and finance companies and hospitals are all on the list.

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Translated and compiled by Yuan-ling Liang

On April 25, the Taipei City’s Department of Labor issued the latest list of companies that have violated the Labor Standards Act. Industries such transportation, medical care, finance, catering and media are all on the list. Well known companies including MUJI, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, Michael Kors, Edwin and Net are among those named.

Since January, four lists of companies and organizations that violate the Labor Standards Act have been announced. Liberty Times reports, most of the violators, including 48 companies, have been fined for not giving extra payment to their employees even when they extend their working hours. Thirty four companies were fined for not letting employees rest on weekends while 30 of them make workers work overtime.

According to another survey conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Ministry of Labor, in 2015, 337 companies violated the regulations, including McDonald’s and the Formosa Fun Coast, where the water park powder explosion accident took place.

Disadvantaged groups are more likely to be exploited by their employers and usually do not complain, OSHA says.

SET News reports, the Taipei City Department of Labor emphasizes that a contract which asks employees to give up asking for overtime pay should not be signed. Employers should also not replace extra payment with vacations. Companies that violate this regulation can be fined NT$20,000 to $300,000 (approximately US$618 to $9,280).

Taiwanese journalists generally working overtime

In the list of Taipei City’s Department of Labor, Formosa TV, CtiTV, EBC, Liberty Times and Global Views-CommonWealth Publishing Group all make their employees work excessively without paying extra salary.

Apple Daily reports, on April 13, the US Department of State published the 2015 Human Rights Report. It showed that 78% of Taiwanese in the media industry work more than 10 hours a day. The report also says that journalists and reporters usually work outside the office and require more protection, such as a special contract, to limit their work hours.

Yu, who works for a newspaper, told Apple Daily that he refuses to reply messages after work, “Everyone has their life. The employers should not enforce their workers to give up their own lives.” [Quote translated].

Another man working in the media industry thinks that labor issues in Taiwan can not be dealt by the government because it is actually a “social status problem.”

Overtime phenomenon at hospitals hard to change

According to the Taipei government’s report, there are six medical caring institution violating the “limited work hour term,” including the following well-known ones.

Apple Daily reports, Lai Hsiang-lin, director of the Taipei City’s department of Labor, says, the media industry has made some progress in the past year. For example, Rti (Radio Taiwan International) has changed its regulations due to pressure posed by labor unions.

However, Lai admits that it is harder to change the medical industry. She says that staff shortages in hospitals have lead to a vicious circle for employees to work overtime since there is not enough human resources.

Lai also says the Taipei City’s Department of Labor will cooperate with the central government to increase hospital budgets and hire more staff.

Now News reports, the New Power Party will issue a proposal to include doctors in the Labor Standards Act.

Legislator Hung Tzu-yung states that, currently, doctors are not considered “laborers” in the act. However, some doctors work almost 90 hours a week – more than 15 hours daily. Some doctors even became sick or died of excessive working hours. Therefore, the party aims to strengthen the protection of doctors before Labour Day on May 1.

Edited by Edward White
Sources:
Apple Daily
Liberty Times Net
Liberty Times Net
SET News
Now News

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