Translated and compiled by Kelly Lai

The amount of days called off due to typhoons last year was the highest throughout the past seven years. In 2015, Taipei City experienced a total of five typhoons, during which four whole-days and one night of school and work were cancelled.

Taipei and two other neighboring cities and counties cancelled school and work while the weather was calm when Typhoon Dujuan hit Taiwan in 2015. “I am so sorry to embarrass the nation,” said Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je. To make up for his poor decision, Ko has proposed a policy on making up any typhoon weekdays off that are over four hours on later weekends.

After the Taipei City Government released its motion internally in early March, it enraged members of the legislative body from the KMT and DPP. Members representing the KMT worry that if the policy is executed, local governments would be less careful about whether to call the day off when typhoons hit since there is a way to make it up. DPP representatives believe that the government should focus more on the standard operation procedures (SOP) during disasters, rather than paying so much attention on whether to make up the school or work days that were cancelled. On March 18, many neighboring cities and counties have also made clear their stances on not supporting Ko’s proposal.

CommonWealth Magazine reported that there are citizens who are unsatisfied with the policy. “I regret voting for Ko,” and “Ko is a workaholic. I do not want to be the same as him,” say netizens.

The Department of Labor stated that Ko’s proposal on making up cancelled work and school days conflicts with labor rights. Hsiang-Lin Lai, commissioner of the Department of Labor, suggested that if employers want workers to be present for office work on weekends, all employees who are called back need to agree and be paid overtime salary.

CNA news projected that there are other problems that need to be addressed if the policy is to be executed. For example, a lot of companies across the country have their headquarters located in Taipei, as a result, people who work for the branches that are located outside of Taipei would have to go to work for an extra day on the weekends to make up for the days that were cancelled in Taipei because of the typhoon.

According to China Times, the Department of Personnel in the Taipei City Government has sent out emails to all ministries inquiring the difficulty of execution. The Directorate-General of Personnel Administration has also delivered surveys to the Ministry of Education and all local governments. Feedback is now being sent back in succession, and whether to have more discussions on taking this proposal into legal procedures would depend on the results of all variables.

Edited by Olivia Yang

The News Lens
China Times
CommonWealth Magazine