Yes, 'Death by Overwork' Is a Real Thing in Taiwan

Yes, 'Death by Overwork' Is a Real Thing in Taiwan
Photo Credit: hiroo yamagata CC BY-SA 2.0
Why you need to know

Taiwan may experience death by overwork on similar levels as in Japan.

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During a public hearing in response revisions of the Labor Standards Act earlier in November, a representative for an employer said in a speech that there weren't any deaths by overwork in Taiwan, "Do bosses really want to work their employees to death? Where is the benefit in that?"

We cannot confirm how the speaker arrived at such a conclusion. However, actual sources exist that at directly address the issue of death by overwork.

According to standards set by the Bureau of Labor insurance, death by heart attacks on the job are classified as death by overwork and benefits are paid out as such. In 2013, the Department of Labor used this information to publish a report on the situation of overworked workers in Taiwan and urged offices to be vigilant. This warning has seems to have gone unheeded, and dozens of workers continue to keel over each year.

From 2012 to 2017, 145 insurance claims were made on behalf of people who had died from overwork. This has decreased in recent years, but the number of people who died in the first half of 2017 is already equal to the entire year of 2016.

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Young people are dying more often; three have had heart attacks in the past half a year.

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The deadliest job categories for the heart were the service industry, manufacturing, transportation, construction and sales. Administration, defense, energy and the creative industries recorded no deaths.

This list is by no means exhaustive, as they were only cases approved by the Bureau of Labor Insurance for payment. One source claims that Japan sees 200 cases of Karōshi per year, meaning that the per-capita rate of death on the job is similar in the two countries.

Editor: Morley J Weston

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