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May 29, 2017

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Local businesses worry about temp labor laws

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Businesses, at least those in Taipei, are worried that a new bill aimed at protecting temporary employees will cost them dearly in terms of competitive power, a business representative said in Taipei yesterday.

Temps, called dispatched workers in Taiwan, will be entitled to equal pay as full-time regular employees if a bill sponsored by the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) becomes law.

Passage of the CLA's draft "Labor Dispatch Protection Law" in its current form would also mean the ratio of dispatched laborers to a user company's regular work force will be capped at 3 percent, a CNA report said, adding violations are punishable by a fine of anywhere between NT$90,000 and NT$450,000.

A Taipei Chamber of Commerce official, however, argued yesterday the draft legislation, if it becomes law, will trigger a steep hike in unemployment and get in the way of long-term national economic development, calling the draft legislation an uninformed, hastily conceived document.

Wang Ying-chieh (王應傑), chairman of the Taipei Chamber of Commerce board of directors, accused the government of trying to please the electorate with half-baked legislation in an election year at the expense of businesses.

"By arbitrarily capping the proportion of dispatched workers without considering differences between different kinds of businesses, the government is simply throwing a monkey wrench into businesses' order-taking calculations," Wang was quoted as saying yesterday.

Wang, apparently in favor of a legislation that would allow businesses a free hand in their hiring and use of dispatched workers, said that businesses allowed such flexibility could gauge changes in the country's economic well-being and hire the optimum number of dispatched help accordingly. The Taipei Chamber of Commerce official, however, denied that he was trying to protect his own business interests, saying government and state-owned enterprises hire more dispatched workers than private enterprise.

In Taiwan, a dispatched worker is a contract-based worker sent by a dispatched work agency, or a temporary help service, to fulfill a certain assignment at the request of an employer.

According to the CNA report, the CLA's purpose in pushing for the passage of the legislation is to protect temporary workers, wean enterprises from their preoccupation with cost when they consider hiring help, and help them rethink their use of manpower.

The CLA, after approving the draft legislation at a Feb. 6 council meeting, has promised to continue to exchange views with businesses on the document.

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