Protections for dispatched workers require balance
The China Post news staff
June 1, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
The labor authorities are seeking to introduce stricter laws next year, regulating the job market by curbing the use of dispatched workers. But employers — from both the private and government sectors — have expressed concerns.
Currently, the dispatched labor market is a gray area where some of the nation's labor laws do not apply and wherein many dispatched workers have found themselves victims of exploitation.
The labor ministry's plan is to introduce a three-percent cap on the number of dispatched workers a company can use as part of its entire workforce.
Earlier this week, Labor Minister Pan Shih-wei openly suggested that government offices completely abstain from employing dispatched workers.
Many government bodies responded by saying that such a ban would be infeasible, because they would not be able to replace dispatched workers by hiring more regulars civil servants.
To evaluate the pros and cons of such a move by the ministry, we must first understand why there is a demand for dispatched workers.
Dispatched workers are contracted by job agencies, which send them to companies looking for temporary help.
The advantage is that a company does not have to maintain a regular workforce larger than it usually needs. It can rely on temporary support from dispatched workers when there is more work to do. It pays wages to these workers, but is not responsible for their national health or labor insurance polices. And when the work is done, these workers can be laid off without the temporary employer having to give them severance pay.
It is a simple pay-as-you-work model. But such a practice is unfair to these under-paid and under-privileged temporary workers who have to do the same amount of work as regular staff yet do not enjoy the same benefits. There is no paid leave and they may never receive the same level of pay as regular employees because part of their pay has to go to the job agencies as commission.