TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Upset reactions to the "one fixed day off, one flexible day off" policy have flooded local and social media, with business owners complaining that the new holiday regulations have forced them to hike prices.
The policy, which came into force on Dec. 23, guarantees workers one flexible day off and one fixed day off a week, with employees paid double to triple their regular salary if they choose to work on a flexible day off.
But businesses have said that they would pass on the rise in costs associated with the new policy to consumers, with a spate of retailers announcing price hikes.
Fried dumpling chain 8 Way (八方雲集) said it would raise prices by an average of 10 percent starting Jan. 1.
8 Way spokesman Hung Wen-bing (洪文彬) told local media the firm had "never raised its prices due to cost increases since its founding in 1998." But the burden of the new policy had compelled what he called a "reaction to the pressures of increasing costs."
Fellow food retailer Formosa Chang (鬍鬚張) also announced it would raise prices on 13 menu items.
Businesses across a diverse range of sectors — including those in hospitality, transportation, health care and manufacturing — are facing cost increases, according to the Central News Agency (CNA).
While some have chosen to raise prices, others have resolved to cut back on business hours.
Hospitals and medical clinics have raised registration fees by NT$30 to NT$50, while the number of health care providers choosing to stay open on weekends has also declined, according to local reports.
The changes in holiday compensation are also set to hit the island's ubiquitous 24-hour convenience stores.
According to local media, convenience stores owners have said they may decide to cut down on opening hours, "especially those (stores) that have already experienced bad sales during the holidays."
An unnamed convenience store owner told CNA that on some low-performing days, the cost of paying staff to work on a flexible day could see stores run at a loss.
Chen Jui-hung (陳瑞宏), vice president of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, called the increase in staff costs "outrageous."
He said that if left unable to hire more employees, small and medium-sized business owners "may choose to quit their businesses."
To be continued with www.chinapost.com.tw