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Workers in Taiwan seen getting two days off
Publication Date : 27-08-2014
Taiwan's newly appointed Labour Minister Chen Hsiung-wen said labour groups and the business sector had reached a consensus to allow workers at least two days off per week.
He said the labour ministry would draft a new bill regarding the issue by the end of this year, a local newspaper reported yesterday.
During an exclusive interview with the United Evening News, Chen said one of President Ma Ying-jeou's pressing issues was to achieve this by 2016, noting that only 60 per cent of labourers in the country enjoy at least two days off every week. Nearly 3 million labourers in the country still have to work on Saturday, the minister said.
Chen said the Ministry of Labour (MOL) has held 30 conferences for labour groups and the business sector on the issue, and a consensus had been reached. The MOL will draft the bill by the end of this year and send it to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation next year, Chen said.
The minister went on to say that this policy has been in place in the military, public service and education sectors for years, adding that many other sectors are also expected to have this regulation set as soon as possible.
Chen said the government has to consider the potential costs of the policy for corporations, and will enforce it at a slow pace. Once a consensus between both labour groups and the business sector is certain, the government will pass it into law, he said. “I will take this issue seriously.
The policy will be carried out in accordance with the (president's) platform. I will also take the 'political agenda' into account,” he said.
In response, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said it will first examine the MOL's schedule concerning the issue, before collecting the business sector's opinion.
The MOEA said that it will simultaneously request that its officials analyse the feasibility of the MOL's proposal and then set out its own suggestions to the labour ministry.
Taipei Chamber of Commerce Director-General Wang Ying-chieh was quoted by the Central News Agency (CNA), saying that it would boost domestic tourism and the service industry in Taiwan if all labourers can have two days off per week.
Lin Hui-ying, chairperson of the National Association of Small & Medium Enterprises R.O.C. (NASME), said the government has to consider every industry's differences while promoting policy as it could add to operational costs.