73% enterprises affected badly by new work rules: jobbank survey

Taipei--Nearly two months after the implementation of new work rules governing vacation days and a 40-hour work week, most enterprises said the new rules have had a negative impact on them, particularly in the areas of labor costs and manpower arrangements, according to the results of an online job bank survey released Wednesday.

Some 73 percent of the respondent enterprises expressed a negative opinion, while 26 percent said the new work rules, which went into force Dec. 23, 2016, have had a positive affect, the survey by jobbank 104 Corp. shows.

The poll also indicates that 23 percent of the respondents reported increased labor costs, with the scale of growth at 11 percent on average, while 63 percent estimated that they will see a decline in their annual profits this year, at an average of 11 percent.

Fifty-six percent of the polled enterprises complained that thanks to the new work rules, they are now busy doing human resource management (HRM), instead of human resource development (HRD), said 104 Human Resource Institute senior deputy manager-general Stanley Hua (???).

Hua said the new work rules have been designed to resolve problems of workers' days off and overtime work hours, but the policy may not be able to see these goodwill goals achieved in the short term, given that the international political and economic situations are being dominated by a sense of uncertainty.

Taiwan's economic growth remains sluggish, and the problem of low wages remains unresolved, Hua said.

Under the new work rules, the total maximum number of working hours has been reduced to 40 hours per week from 84 hours every two weeks previously, and workers are now entitled to one mandatory day off and one "flexible" rest day per week -- measures that could increase operating costs for employers.

Employers now face much higher overtime costs than previously if they ask employees to work on their "flexible" day off, and they are not allowed to have employees work on their mandatory day off because the rules mandate that workers can work for no more than six days in a row.

The survey was conducted from Jan. 20 to Feb. 3 among 104 member-enterprises seeking people to work for them. A total of 938 valid samples were collected, with a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

In addition to enterprises, the new work rules have also impacted the workers, 104 said, referring to the results of another survey conducted among job seekers.

The survey, also published on Wednesday, indicates that 30 percent of the respondents have seen that their real earnings have shrunk since the implementation of the new work rules, while 70 percent have not.

The earning drop, at a scale of 11.3 percent on average, was found to have been caused mainly by tightened company policy on overtime work, according to Hua.

Some enterprises have abandoned the practice of requiring overtime work on holidays, in order to avoid having to pay extra to their employees, Hua said, describing this policy change as having a huge impact on people seeking to increase their incomes with overtime work.

The survey was conducted from Jan. 24 to Feb. 9 and received 638 valid samples, with a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel