In work regulated by the Taiwan Labor Standards Act:
You have a right to a fair wage
Under the Taiwan Labor Standards Act, your base wage, not including overtime, must not be lower than the minimum wage. As of March 2017, the minimum wage in Taiwan is NT$21,009 per month or NT$133 per hour.
On your pay slip, what was your pay rate? If it was less than NT$21,009 for the month or NT$133 per hour, then your rights may have been violated.
You have a right to work reasonable hours with rest periods
You can never be forced to work overtime by your boss. The worker always has a right to say no to working beyond the hours of a standard working day, as defined by their contract. Under the Taiwan Labor Standards Act, a standard day of full employment should be eight hours in a day and not in excess of 84 hours over a two-week period. Additionally, when working for four hours, the worker has a right to a 30 minute rest period before continuing on in their work, with limited exceptions for nonstop production lines and occasional emergency situations.
Review your working hours. Have you worked for more than eight hours in a single day? In a 14-day period, have you worked for more than 84 hours? If yes, then were you paid overtime for the hours that you worked in excess of eight hours in a day or 84 hours in two weeks? You have a right a standard working day and to overtime pay for hours worked beyond the standard.
You have a right to holidays, rest days, and reasonable application procedures for requesting leave.
Under the Taiwan Labor Standards Act, you are entitled to one rest day within each 7-day period worked.
Consider your work schedule. During the past seven days, have you had a day free of work, perhaps on the weekend? If you have not, then your employer may be in violation of the law.
You have a right to request leave for personal time.
Workers who have been employed by the same company or factory for more than one year have a right to request special leave under Article 38 of the Labor Standards Act. According to this article, the employer should pay your regular wage on legal holidays such as Commemoration Day, Labor Day, etc. and the employer should grant days free from work for personal leave such as marriage, death in the family, personal reasons, sick and injury leave, etc. If you would like to take time away from work for such an occasion, be sure to contact your employer ahead of time. Within reason, you have a right to your personal leave.
Have you been forced to work on legal holidays? You have a right to days off. Have you requested leave from your employer in the past? Was it not granted without cause? Your rights may have been violated.
Mothers, you have a right to maternity leave.
According to the Gender Equality in Employment Act, female employees who become pregnant have the right to take maternity leave of up to eight weeks (including the time before and after childbirth). In the case of a miscarriage by a female employee who has been pregnant for at least three months, the female employee has the right to take four weeks of maternity leave. If the worker has a miscarriage after being pregnant for less than three months, then she may take maternity leave as well, though for a duration of time that is less. (Contact the Hope Workers’ Center for more details about this policy.) A worker who takes maternity leave has the right to pay during her leave. If the worker has been employed for more than six months, she will be paid regular wages during her maternity leave; if the worker has been employed for less than six months, she will be paid wages at half of the regular payment.
Are you considering becoming pregnant or have you already become pregnant? All mothers have the right to take time off during childbirth for a total of eight weeks. You are also entitled to maternity leave if you experience a miscarriage: four weeks of maternity leave if you were pregnant for at least three months prior to miscarrying and fewer if you were pregnant for less time before the miscarriage occurred. You have the right to take time off during your pregnancy, and if your employer doesn’t grant it, then you may have the right to file a grievance.
You have a right to health insurance, paid for by your employer.
Under the Taiwan Labor Standards Act, all workers in Taiwan have the right to join the National Health Insurance Plan. It is the responsibility of the employer to apply for and handle maintenance of their employees’ memberships to this plan. The employer must pay the National Health Insurance Fee monthly, and thereby the employees can access medical benefits should they be needed.
Do you have a National Health Insurance card? From your first day as a worker, your employer should have given you such a card, which signals that the employer has been paying a monthly fee so that you can use that card to access affordable health care. If you do not have a National Health Insurance, provided by your employer, your rights as a worker may have been violated.
You have a right to labor insurance, provided by your employer.
Under the Taiwan Labor Standards Act, all businesses that employ more than five workers must provide Labor Insurance through the Council of Labor Affairs. On workers’ first days of work, the employer must submit a work permit for each worker, approved by the central labor authority, to the Council of Labor Affairs.
Do you have more than four coworkers at your place of work? Do you and your coworkers have labor insurance? If you don’t have labor insurance and your boss employs more than five workers, then your rights as a worker may have been violated.
You have the right to file a grievance and seek a labor dispute against your employer and your broker.
There are resources for foreign workers who want to file grievances against their brokers or employers. The Hope Workers’ Center is one resource, and you may contact us with any questions. Additionally, you may contact the Foreign Workers Service Center, located at both of Taiwan’s international airports; you may contact the Council of Labor Affairs via their toll-free number “1-9-5-5”.
Do you recognize that your rights have been violated? Perhaps, would you like to inquire about what your path forward is to file a grievance? Even just to ask a simple question about your rights as a worker, give us a call at the Hope Workers’ Center. We are under no obligation to report your case to the government or your employer and we will not do so unless you ask us to. You may contact us during working hours, seven days a week.
You have the right to join a labor union.
Under Taiwan’s Labor Union Law, all workers have the right to be part of a labor union. If there is already a labor union in your workplace, you have a right to submit your application for membership and then to join, pending acceptance of your application. As a member of a labor union, you may have access to representation and support that you would have lacked as an individual. If there is not already a labor union in your workplace, you have a right to form one. To do so, you must seek signatures from 30 people in your workplace, go through a simple organizing procedure, and then seek a certificate of registration from the government agency regulating your workplace. Organizing as part of a labor union is a right and cannot be infringed upon or blocked by your employer.
Are you a member of a labor union? If not, have you considered joining? If there is one in your workplace, then you may gain negotiating power and support for receiving better wage and living conditions at your job. If there isn’t yet one, it may be beneficial for you to form a union. All you would need is 30 signatures and some simple preparatory procedures to gain the support of union representation. Contact the Hope Workers’ Center to learn more about the benefits of unionizing, and to learn about how to form a labor union.
Did this information help you? Above, we listed the rights of workers who are protected under the Taiwan Labor Standards Act; not sure if yours is? Contact us with any comments or questions!