Taipei-The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham) said Wednesday that it hopes the newly passed amendments to Taiwan's labor law will strengthen the country's competitiveness.
In response to the passage of the revisions, AmCham told CNA the revised law is expected to help Taiwan make better use of its labor force to create a win-win situation for both employers and employees.
Taiwan's lawmakers passed the revisions to the Labor Standards Act earlier in the day after an intensive 18-hour review, including debate and a vote, amid protests by labor groups gathered outside the Legislative Yuan.
Under the new amendments, employees can be asked to work 12 days in a row and work shifts with only eight hours of rest in between, but enterprises must get approval for that from related government agencies and also from their employees.
Under the existing rules, employees cannot be asked to work for more than six days in a row and should have a rest period of at least 11 hours between shifts.
In addition, the amendments also allow for a maximum of 54 hours of overtime per month, up from the current 46 hours, but caps it at 138 hours over a three-month period.
Meanwhile, the revisions stipulate that compensation for a "flexible" rest day -- defined as a day off on which employees can opt to work if employers ask them to -- will be calculated based on the actual amount of time worked rather than a range.
Under current rules, workers who do fewer than four hours of work on a "flexible" day off are paid for four hours, while those who work between four to eight hours are paid for eight hours, and those who work between eight to 12 hours are paid for 12 hours.
In a White Paper released by AmCham in June 2017, it criticized the existing labor law, saying that the rigid rules on working hours and overtime will stifle creativity.
After the passage of the revisions, however, AmCham said Taiwan successfully reached a consensus on new working conditions between management and labor so that Taiwan's creativity will be boosted.
With a vibrant labor force, AmCham added, Taiwan is expected to attract investment from knowledge-oriented foreign enterprises.
While local business groups praised the added flexibility of the revisions, however, labor groups opposed the changes, saying that workers will have to shoulder a heavier burden because of longer work hours.
The labor groups said they will seek a referendum to overrule the revised labor rules, which are expected to take effect March 1.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel