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Labor law violations up in '13 compared to previous year

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taipei City Government Department of Labor (DOL) recently released the number of Labor Standards Act violation cases in 2013, which topped the records from 2012 by nearly 100 cases.

A total of 693 labor law violations were reported in 2013, and NT$33.76 million worth of fines resulted from the said cases. In 2012, there were 603 cases, which amounted to a total of NT$25.04 million in fines. The numbers from last year broke the DOL's records.

Labor Standards Division head Yeh Jien-neng noted that the fines had increased 34.81 percent. Among the fined, companies which had neglected the records of employees' outdoor-duties and thus avoided paying the extra salary came in first at 23.88 percent; those who did not give their employees the required holidays and days-off were next at nearly 23 percent.

Another 18.2 percent of fined employers worked their employees overtime, 18.07 percent refused to pay the agreed-on salaries and roughly 17 percent neglected to pay overtime wages.

Many industries and companies have decided to alter working hours and lower hourly wages to cope with the ailing economy, and some would even demand employees stick to the “responsibility system” and work overtime without paying for the extra hours, said Yeh, who added that the laborers have started to recognize their rights, which was the main reason for the escalating number of fined companies. “We may see even more cases this year,” said Yeh.

The DOL also noted that there were 3,539 cases of employer-employee disputes in 2013, in which 2,362 were settled out of court and the remaining 1,177 having failed to reach a compromise.

Disputes over wages topped the charts at 46.62 percent, while severance pay controversies resulted in 27.44 percent of the reported disputes.

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