‘Holidays-cut’ clause to be negotiated by party caucuses

The Cabinet’s proposed amendment to the Labor Standards Act, which cuts the number of national holidays from 19 to 12, will be discussed at a coordination meeting between the Legislature’s four party caucuses, a Legislative committee decided on Thursday.

The Executive Yuan and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus want to cut seven national holidays for all workers nationwide, while the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), New Power Party (NPP) and People First Party (PFP) want to keep the holidays.

KMT and NPP lawmakers proposed changes to the Cabinet’s amendment at a Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, in an effort to retain the national holidays.

However, Labor Minister Kuo Fang-yu (郭芳煜) said the proposal to cut the seven holidays was intended to ensure all workers (including public servants) enjoy the same number of holidays per year. Kuo said he would support whatever it took to achieve that goal.

Currently, public servants are required to work on the national holidays in question.

With a majority in the committee, DPP lawmakers ignored the proposals, choosing instead to refer the cutting of the seven holidays to a cross-caucus coordination meeting.

The Cabinet’s amendment, which was forced through at a meeting of the Legislative committee by a DPP lawmaker on Oct. 5, proposes a five-day workweek with one mandatory day off and one “flexible rest day” and cuts seven national holidays. The law had previously mandated a maximum of 84 work hours over a two-week period.

The DPP has 68 seats in the 113-seat Legislature, while the KMT has 35 seats, New Power Party five and People First Party three.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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