Violators of new labor rule on overtime risk heavy fines: ministry

Taipei-Employers who force their workers to accept compensatory leave for overtime work, under Taiwan's newly amended labor law, will face a fine of up to NT$1 million (US$33,800), Deputy Minister of Labor Shih Keh-her (???) said Thursday.

Responding to reporters' questions on the amendments to the Labor Standards Act, Shih said employees can choose either to be paid or to be given compensatory time off for overtime work.

However, if employers unilaterally decide on the latter option, their businesses will risk a fine of between NT$20,000 and NT$1 million, Shih said about the controversial amendments that were passed the previous day.

If the worker chooses compensatory time off, the deadline for taking such leave should in principle be no longer than a year, after which the employee would be entitled to overtime pay, although a deadline has not yet been set by the Ministry of Labor, he said.

The ministry will consult with experts and hopefully decide on the deadline period by March, when the amendment goes into effect, Shih added, addressing public concerns that businesses would be more likely to encourage employees to choose compensatory leave rather than pay.

With no deadline specified for when such leave should be taken, workers could end up without either pay or leave, some commentators have said.

Meanwhile on the matter of work shifts and rest periods, Shih said his ministry is coordinating with the relevant agencies to determine which industries would qualify for the new flexible rules and will make an announcement on Mar. 1.

Under the new amendments, employees can be asked to work 12 days in a row and to work shifts with only eight hours of rest in between, pending approval from the relevant government agencies.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel