Authorities mulling law to protect temporary workers
CNATAIPEI -- The labor authorities are mulling a law to better protect temporary workers, bringing their treatment up to par with conditions mandated for official hires and ultimately cutting the number of contract workers in Taiwan.
October 3, 2013, 12:11 am TWN
The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) is set to work on the bill later this month and is hoping to submit a final version to the Cabinet before the end of the current legislative session, CLA Minister Pan Shih-wei said in a legislative committee meeting Wednesday in response to questions about the progress of the bill.
The new bill will prioritize equal treatment for temporary workers, said Pan, as critics have faulted a gap in pay levels between such contract workers and regular hires with the same workload.
The council will also formulate a strategy to reduce employers' propensity to use temporary workers by setting out rules that will bring the costs of temporary and regular workers to nearly the same level, the minister said.
Meanwhile Wednesday, the Cabinet offered an assurance that it will keep a cap on the number of contract workers it hires, in the face of concerns over the public sector's reliance on such workers and the possible impact of keeping wages stagnant.
Huang Fu-yuan, minister of the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration, said in a separate legislative committee meeting that the Cabinet maintains a ceiling on the number of contract workers in various government agencies, which has fallen from 15,000 in 2010 to 10,000 currently.
Huang was responding to ruling Kuomintang lawmaker Lai Shyh-bao, who alleged that the large number of government-employed contract workers is partly to blame for the stagnation in local wages.
The number of temporary workers in the public and private sectors rose from over 70,000 in 2002 to 570,000 in 2012, surpassing the number of migrant workers in the country, according to Lai.
Government temporary workers earn NT$30,000 (US$1,016.5) monthly on average, according to Huang.
Taiwan's average real monthly earnings for the first seven months of 2013 fell to a four-year low of NT$46,786, which is about the same level as the NT$46,646 in 1997, official data shows.