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Central Taiwan roundtable lunch on labour laws

On 10 August 2016, the Central Taiwan committee hosted a roundtable lunch with guest of honour Huang Ho-ting, Director of Taichung City's Bureau of Labour Affairs to discuss the implications for companies of recent changes to Taiwan's labour laws.

Since the implementation of amendments to the Labour Standards Law on 1 January 2016 many employers have struggled to demonstrate compliance. According to the new rules, employees in Taiwan may work for a maximum of eight hours a day or 40 hours per week. In addition, employers are required to keep and maintain attendance records, accurate to the minute, for five years.

Given that many companies do not request employees to punch in and out or record their working hours, it has been a challenge for them to prove to authorities that they are in compliance with the law. Even companies that have complied with the law have been subject to fines from labour inspectors for not providing the correct paperwork.

Director Huang spent the duration of the lunch answering questions from members of the committee, most of whom operate a diverse range of businesses in the greater Taichung area, including retail, luxury goods, energy, consulting, security and legal services. Many questions were raised concerning difficulties related to recording and reporting working hours. Members also brought up the issue of consistency, noting that different city government officials sometimes have different interpretations of rules from those of their colleagues, causing confusion for members.

In response, Director Huang shared her experience of labour inspections and inspection standards of the bureau. She informed members, for example, that the bureau offers training and assistance on issues such as reporting working hours. For example, training has been provided to the media industry. She emphasized that the main objective of the city government is not impose punitive measures but to educate businesses and help them to provide better working conditions for their employees.