Company's shadowy salary policies - need advices!


#1

I’ve been working for a Taiwanese company for 3 months now, and things aren’t great.

It is one of those companies that has all sorts of tricks to reclaim a significant part of your salary every month; and of course inform you about those “policies” after the payday. :fume:
Browsing through the Labor Stadards Act website, I realised a large numbers of the things they do and ask for are illegal, but there are a few precise points on which I’d like to get advices from those who have more experience on how things go down in TW.

I’ll list my questions one by one so that’s clearer.

1. Every day, we have to punch in and punch out. If you fail to punch out, they ask you to pay a fine and use CCTV to check when you got out. If you don’t pay for CCTV, they deduct the entire day from your salary as they consider you were absent that day (and that you didn’t work at all, even though you punched in).
This rule is not written anywhere, nor in the work rules I had to sign. My understanding is that according to Article 70 of the Labor Std Act, it should be clearly stated.

This month, they deducted me 7 days, which I discovered when reading my payslip.
They also say that “it’s too late” to ask for CCTV has I’ve been paid already (I should say “finally”, since they pay with a 20 days delay).
Is there any way I can reclaim my money back?

Now most importantly, AFTER I signed my contract - getting me the work permit - they came up with that:

2. They asked me to sign an “agreement” stating my base salary would be 40k + 10k of various stuff (confidentiality agreements + overtime).
Is this legal given that a foreigner’s salary should be 48k at least? Does it put me at fault in regards to the law and do I risk anything if I sign that (I kept refusing so far)? The contract given to the government and used to issue my work permit says my salary is 50k.
My payslip shows that whether I signed or not, they pay me according to that “agreement” (40k base salary + overtime).

3. They also require I sign an agreement giving them the right to decrease my salary by 20% if my workload gets low. Same questions: does it put me at fault in regards to the law? And what can I do if they enforce it anyway (despite I didn’t sign)?

4. Is it legal to pay employees 20 days late (seems a sort of deposit to me…)?

5. How about deducting 2h of pay if you’re late by 1 minute or more?

The company has an endless list of terrible reviews on internet (I should have checked that before…) and I intend to hit the slide soon since things aren’t great. So I’m not too scared to confront them if needed.

Any advice would be much appreciated :notworthy:


#2

How about you do not sign anything beyond the initial contract?
Sure, you might need to look for a new job after the current contract term ends, but that may be much better than putting up with the misery you experience now. Don’t even waste your time arguing about it, the standard reply (and even if they receive written notice from the Ministry of Labor) will be “Regulation XY does not apply to us because (add some bs reason)”.

Typical for Taiwan.


#3

This is not typical. These practices are a bad sign that you are working for a company that will rip you off. There are numerous violations of the Labor Standards Act here. For now, don’t complain. Just collect as much evidence as you can. In June, new rules are coming into effect that will allow you to extend your ARC for six months while you look for a new job. At that point, your plan should be to terminate the contract and demand your back pay, overtime pay, and severance pay. Then look for a new job.

Please wait until the rules come out so that we can check whether you can extend your visa if you have terminated the contract.


#4

They are ripping you off. Your boss is controlling and unfair, and does not respect employees.

You should get out as quickly as possible. But be smart! Smile, don’t complain. Collect evidence, carefully evaluate all factors, and exit like a ninja! You made a mistake signing for them, but shit happens. Learn from it, and find a better job now. Use the sneaky Taiwanese way to succeed in Taiwan.


#5

I remember the shock when I first encountered such sharp practices (when asking what deduction x/y/z was in Chinese). Thankfully not all places are as bad, but it’s sad to hear it still exists.


#6

[quote=“double-g”]I’ve been working for a Taiwanese company for 3 months now, and things aren’t great.

It is one of those companies that has all sorts of tricks to reclaim a significant part of your salary every month; and of course inform you about those “policies” after the payday. :fume:
Browsing through the Labor Stadards Act website, I realised a large numbers of the things they do and ask for are illegal, but there are a few precise points on which I’d like to get advices from those who have more experience on how things go down in TW.

I’ll list my questions one by one so that’s clearer.

1. Every day, we have to punch in and punch out. If you fail to punch out, they ask you to pay a fine and use CCTV to check when you got out. If you don’t pay for CCTV, they deduct the entire day from your salary as they consider you were absent that day (and that you didn’t work at all, even though you punched in).
This rule is not written anywhere, nor in the work rules I had to sign. My understanding is that according to Article 70 of the Labor Std Act, it should be clearly stated.

This month, they deducted me 7 days, which I discovered when reading my payslip.
They also say that “it’s too late” to ask for CCTV has I’ve been paid already (I should say “finally”, since they pay with a 20 days delay).
Is there any way I can reclaim my money back?

Now most importantly, AFTER I signed my contract - getting me the work permit - they came up with that:

2. They asked me to sign an “agreement” stating my base salary would be 40k + 10k of various stuff (confidentiality agreements + overtime).
Is this legal given that a foreigner’s salary should be 48k at least? Does it put me at fault in regards to the law and do I risk anything if I sign that (I kept refusing so far)? The contract given to the government and used to issue my work permit says my salary is 50k.
My payslip shows that whether I signed or not, they pay me according to that “agreement” (40k base salary + overtime).

3. They also require I sign an agreement giving them the right to decrease my salary by 20% if my workload gets low. Same questions: does it put me at fault in regards to the law? And what can I do if they enforce it anyway (despite I didn’t sign)?

4. Is it legal to pay employees 20 days late (seems a sort of deposit to me…)?

5. How about deducting 2h of pay if you’re late by 1 minute or more?

The company has an endless list of terrible reviews on internet (I should have checked that before…) and I intend to hit the slide soon since things aren’t great. So I’m not too scared to confront them if needed.

Any advice would be much appreciated :notworthy:[/quote]

Find a new job, dude…
They ripping you off.


#7

[quote=“double-g”]I’ve been working for a Taiwanese company for 3 months now, and things aren’t great.

It is one of those companies that has all sorts of tricks to reclaim a significant part of your salary every month; and of course inform you about those “policies” after the payday. :fume:
Browsing through the Labor Stadards Act website, I realised a large numbers of the things they do and ask for are illegal, but there are a few precise points on which I’d like to get advices from those who have more experience on how things go down in TW.

I’ll list my questions one by one so that’s clearer.

1. Every day, we have to punch in and punch out. If you fail to punch out, they ask you to pay a fine and use CCTV to check when you got out. If you don’t pay for CCTV, they deduct the entire day from your salary as they consider you were absent that day (and that you didn’t work at all, even though you punched in).
This rule is not written anywhere, nor in the work rules I had to sign. My understanding is that according to Article 70 of the Labor Std Act, it should be clearly stated.

This month, they deducted me 7 days, which I discovered when reading my payslip.
They also say that “it’s too late” to ask for CCTV has I’ve been paid already (I should say “finally”, since they pay with a 20 days delay).
Is there any way I can reclaim my money back?

Now most importantly, AFTER I signed my contract - getting me the work permit - they came up with that:

2. They asked me to sign an “agreement” stating my base salary would be 40k + 10k of various stuff (confidentiality agreements + overtime).
Is this legal given that a foreigner’s salary should be 48k at least? Does it put me at fault in regards to the law and do I risk anything if I sign that (I kept refusing so far)? The contract given to the government and used to issue my work permit says my salary is 50k.
My payslip shows that whether I signed or not, they pay me according to that “agreement” (40k base salary + overtime).

3. They also require I sign an agreement giving them the right to decrease my salary by 20% if my workload gets low. Same questions: does it put me at fault in regards to the law? And what can I do if they enforce it anyway (despite I didn’t sign)?

4. Is it legal to pay employees 20 days late (seems a sort of deposit to me…)?

5. How about deducting 2h of pay if you’re late by 1 minute or more?

The company has an endless list of terrible reviews on internet (I should have checked that before…) and I intend to hit the slide soon since things aren’t great. So I’m not too scared to confront them if needed.

Any advice would be much appreciated :notworthy:[/quote]

That’s bloody awful, sorry you have to work there and deal with such Chinese bullshit.
What company is it, if you don’t mind mentioning.?


#8

Thank you all for the imput.
I’m already looking for a new job, but that’s not a reason to work for free until then, hence why I asked for advices…
Anyway, after loudly complaining for 2 days, it seems they will return me the money… next month! Even though I still have to pay a 1,200 fine, there are improvements.

I also discovered that according to article 70 of the Labor Stds Act, a company should publicly display work rules, which of course is not the case at mine. I might use it if I ever want to reclaim some money back, as one more addition to the pile of BS that’s going on.


I guess I’ll keep denying politely, and hope for the best.

[quote=“Feiren”]In June, new rules are coming into effect that will allow you to extend your ARC for six months while you look for a new job. […] Please wait until the rules come out so that we can check whether you can extend your visa if you have terminated the contract.[/quote]Much valuable info, thanks a lot!

[quote=“BigJohn”]Use the sneaky Taiwanese way to succeed in Taiwan.[/quote] Haha, duly noted!

[quote=“headhonchoII”]I remember the shock when I first encountered such sharp practices (when asking what deduction x/y/z was in Chinese). Thankfully not all places are as bad, but it’s sad to hear it still exists.[/quote]An even bigger shock to me was to see how my unhappy colleagues still bow down and endure that s*** …
When one ask for CCTV check and pay the fine, a collective email is sent to all the employees with CCTV screenshots, the amount of the fine and the time the employee left the office. I was scandalized to see them putting a fine to 2 girls who left the office past 10pm (4 hours of overtime!) because they forgot to punch out!!!

[quote=“zads27”]What company is it, if you don’t mind mentioning.?[/quote]Well, a lot of my colleagues are bilingual and a few probably browse through Forumosa from time-to-time, so I’ll wait until I can quit to “expose” them, just so it can’t be held against me. But be sure I’ll answer you in this thread with some more details. :wink:


#9

If they ask you in for any meetings you should record it surreptitiously in case they fire you at the meeting. And also try to confirm firing (if it happens) by email. The reason is that in Taiwan, to get a new job you need an official termination document from your previous job. Some asshole employers will withhold this as a last little “F*** you!” to ex-employees they don’t like. Without this it can be impossible to get a new work permit.


#10

The CLA can help to get the end of employment document if the employer doesn’t cooperate. However it’s best to resign, do the silly hand over stuff they usually request and get the hell out of dodge with the letter in hand.


#11

The punchclock should be banned.


#12

I would collect as much evidence as possible. Once that is done then I would involve the labor government, they will help you out! They will most likely come to your office. Give the company as much shit as possible


#13

[quote=“double-g”]I’ve been working for a Taiwanese company for 3 months now, and things aren’t great.

It is one of those companies that has all sorts of tricks to reclaim a significant part of your salary every month; and of course inform you about those “policies” after the payday. :fume:
Browsing through the Labor Stadards Act website, I realised a large numbers of the things they do and ask for are illegal, but there are a few precise points on which I’d like to get advices from those who have more experience on how things go down in TW.

I’ll list my questions one by one so that’s clearer.

1. Every day, we have to punch in and punch out. If you fail to punch out, they ask you to pay a fine and use CCTV to check when you got out. If you don’t pay for CCTV, they deduct the entire day from your salary as they consider you were absent that day (and that you didn’t work at all, even though you punched in).
This rule is not written anywhere, nor in the work rules I had to sign. My understanding is that according to Article 70 of the Labor Std Act, it should be clearly stated.

This month, they deducted me 7 days, which I discovered when reading my payslip.
They also say that “it’s too late” to ask for CCTV has I’ve been paid already (I should say “finally”, since they pay with a 20 days delay).
Is there any way I can reclaim my money back?

Now most importantly, AFTER I signed my contract - getting me the work permit - they came up with that:

2. They asked me to sign an “agreement” stating my base salary would be 40k + 10k of various stuff (confidentiality agreements + overtime).
Is this legal given that a foreigner’s salary should be 48k at least? Does it put me at fault in regards to the law and do I risk anything if I sign that (I kept refusing so far)? The contract given to the government and used to issue my work permit says my salary is 50k.
My payslip shows that whether I signed or not, they pay me according to that “agreement” (40k base salary + overtime).

3. They also require I sign an agreement giving them the right to decrease my salary by 20% if my workload gets low. Same questions: does it put me at fault in regards to the law? And what can I do if they enforce it anyway (despite I didn’t sign)?

4. Is it legal to pay employees 20 days late (seems a sort of deposit to me…)?

5. How about deducting 2h of pay if you’re late by 1 minute or more?

The company has an endless list of terrible reviews on internet (I should have checked that before…) and I intend to hit the slide soon since things aren’t great. So I’m not too scared to confront them if needed.

Any advice would be much appreciated :notworthy:[/quote]

You can call your county’s Labour board and they can advise you. I did that and they made the company pay me but it was very informal. They were like “by the way you really ought to pay at least minimum wage.” It’s quite uncommon for customer service, retail level jobs to receive the minimum wage of 109 nt/hour and they do have a lot of rules for taking away your salary and also you have to stay longer without being paid etc. But I heard in the bigger city like Taipei they must give workers at least 100 nt or they will get in trouble.


#14

A little update…
Following the advices most people gave me here, I decided two weeks ago to pay a visit to my county’s department of labour (Taipei in my case).

It turn out:

1 - Even though I’m on a 1 year, fixed term contract, since nothing is mentioned in the original contract, I’m not entitled to pay anything if I quit. NO PENALTY.
I’m only entitled to a 10 days prior notice (and the longer you’ve worked in the company, the more it grows).
If I had signed the second contract though, it might have been legally binding.

2 - The company CAN NOT fire me for any reason other than the ones mentioned in the Labour Standards Act. It cannot fire me for the sole reason that I’d refuse to sign another contract/agreement or new work rules.

I guess the error the company made, was to have me sign the first contract and process my work permit application, then only after that ask me to sign the second contract with all the shit in it. They probably didn’t want to scare me off, or assumed that I’d sign it anyway and believe their lies.

Since my visit to City Hall, I discovered a lot more irregularities in the work rules (for which I had confirmation they are illegal) including some “fines” they are giving us. One of them is originally illegal, but they’re very clever about it.

Whenever you arrive late at the office, the company deduct your salary by 1 hour fractions. So if you’re late anywhere from 1 minute to 59 minutes, they’ll deduct 1h. Now, it gets even better! They considered that when you’re late, you’re actually “absent from work without notice”. Which means they count hours double (as a penalty)! So this morning, if you were late anywhere between 1 minutes and 59 minutes, the company will deduct 2 hours of your salary.
This is, according to the Dept. of Labor, absolutely illegal (they should charge 1 minute if you’re late 1 minute; and no penalty). However, they systematically ask employees, as soon as they arrive, to fill the late arrival as 1h of unpaid leave. If you take a leave on that morning you were late, the company will cancel the penalty and only deduct 1 hour off.
This way, they turn an illegal penalty into something legal, by making it look like the employee took a leave. AND, they slowly take away your “unpaid leave credit”.

Now, I’ve alway firmly refused to fill unpaid leave on late arrival because I didn’t want to start eating away my unpaid leave credit (I should therefore be able to claim a few hours back). They tried to force me into it, claiming they would count the entire day as not worked, to witch I threaten to call the Dept of Labor. Turns out, it was in fact, just a misunderstanding (they’re charging me 2h, but don’t eat my unpaid leave credit). :laughing:

However, I’m now pretty pissed and I’ve got one more question.
I’ve seen on the Dept of Labor’s website there’s a special unit named Taipei City Labor Inspection Office. Would I have any chance to trigger those guy’s interest? Any thoughts about giving them a hint, and how?
Someone has to stop the b***s*** that’s going on in this company and give those mofo a lesson. All my colleagues complain - and not only foreigners - but of course, no one take action.


#15

Losing a weekly attendance bonus for punching in one minute late seems to be pretty standard practice. Where I work, that would amount to about an hour’s pay, and it would also be lost for taking a sick day or taking paid or unpaid leave.

Overall though, I feel for you and I hope you get out of your situation as swiftly and as painlessly as possible. What kind of work are you doing? Teaching?


#16

Dude, quit whining, contact CLA, tell them and get your money back. A job tried that fining me more than I make for missing a day. One call from CLA and the money was in next month’s pay.


#17

I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I suggest you should give the company a notice and seek another job. It’s not worth staying for one more second even if the company reimburses you for your losses . I will try my best to answer your questions by my HR experience below.
First, I believe your company has a strict standard on the control of employees’ working hours, and I suggest you should follow the rule if you want to work for them. Regarding your questions, they cannot deduct your salary for one day only because you left the office without punching out. You mentioned the company confirmed your work status by CCTV, and you can ask them to provide the video to prove you were not absent. They should pays hat was deducted from your salary within seven days if you could prove it. I am not sure if it’s illegal to pay you with a 20 days delay, but I am sure it’s always not too late to reclaim your lost. Talk to HR and seek help at the Ministry of Labor if it doesn’t work.
Secondly, I strongly recommend you to not sign an unfair agreement. Usually, we only have an agreement with employees regarding the terms of a base salary. We don’t put the overtime in the term of the agreement because we cannot forecast how long employees might work overtime. In addition, foreigners’ salary must be at least 48k a month.
Thirdly, your salary must not be below 48K,if it’s the company is enforcing you to sign an illegal agreement.
Fourth, I’m not sure about the late payment. I’ll check it out later.
Fifth, it’s not fair. My company deducts one-hour pay in this case, but it seems there is no specific statement in our Employee Management Principles. I assume that it’s not an argument if the company includes the rule of late arrival into the office in the term of the agreement.


#18

brutal


#19

I suggest explaining to the labor government what happened and let them handle it for you. Don’t let this company get away with anything!


#20

[quote=“UncleTsAi”]I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I suggest you should give the company a notice and seek another job. It’s not worth staying for one more second even if the company reimburses you for your losses . I will try my best to answer your questions by my HR experience below.
First, I believe your company has a strict standard on the control of employees’ working hours, and I suggest you should follow the rule if you want to work for them. Regarding your questions, they cannot deduct your salary for one day only because you left the office without punching out. You mentioned the company confirmed your work status by CCTV, and you can ask them to provide the video to prove you were not absent. They should pays hat was deducted from your salary within seven days if you could prove it. I am not sure if it’s illegal to pay you with a 20 days delay, but I am sure it’s always not too late to reclaim your lost. Talk to HR and seek help at the Ministry of Labor if it doesn’t work.
Secondly, I strongly recommend you to not sign an unfair agreement. Usually, we only have an agreement with employees regarding the terms of a base salary. We don’t put the overtime in the term of the agreement because we cannot forecast how long employees might work overtime. In addition, foreigners’ salary must be at least 48k a month.
Thirdly, your salary must not be below 48K,if it’s the company is enforcing you to sign an illegal agreement.
Fourth, I’m not sure about the late payment. I’ll check it out later.
Fifth, it’s not fair. My company deducts one-hour pay in this case, but it seems there is no specific statement in our Employee Management Principles. I assume that it’s not an argument if the company includes the rule of late arrival into the office in the term of the agreement.[/quote]

Some things you said are a bit odd. Some foreigners can be paid less if local graduates. The overtime bit is typical bluster in Taiwan, in the end it’s unpaid labour and the employers exploit workers routinely.

The OPs situation is actually quite common here, in about 2-3 of the 5 Taiwanese companies I worked with they used these illegal practices, it’s one of the reasons I refuse to go back to working in Taiwanese companies as too many lie or treat their employees like disposable toilet paper.