Taiwanese workers rights?

My Taiwanese friend works in the public relations field. She is a mid-level manager for one of the larger public relations firms here in Taiwan.

Rarely is there a day that she works less than 12 hours. She gets paid quite poorly for the work she does. Although she has been responsible for landing several multi-million dollar deals she doesn’t get any bonuses. We have spoken about it many times and she is actually going to be quitting her job in a few weeks.

It seems as if the working environment in particular for this field of work tends to demand insane hours for little pay. But the question I guess I have is, What rights do Taiwanese workers have as far a labor laws go?

Are there similar laws to protect workers here as there are in Canada or the US? If there are what kind of enforcement can be expected?

there are laws, but they are almost never enforced. and unions have no power at all. actually taiwanese people don’t really know what unions are. and they never complain because they are afraid to get fired.

normal working time is 8 hours/day - 40 hours/week. with 1 hour rest every 5 hours.
extra hours are supposed to be paid more, like 1.2 to 1.5 times the basic rate, depending on the time. and there is a limited amount of extra hours you can work.

so companies just handle like they want.
my ex company used to pay attention to the 1 hour rest every 5 hours, because they could force people to stay one hour more when they arrived late in the morning (cannot work 6 hours in the afternoon to compensate, have to work 5 + rest 1 + work 1 = 7hours)
but about extra time : if you worked until after 22.00 (basic take off time was 18.00) you would get… 60NT$. In cash. (for the 4 hours, not per hour). and nothing for people coming on weekends.

so if you have the time and money to check with lawyers and unions, do it. otherwise, find a better company.

(that’s what all my ex co workers -and me- did, and they had to close down a full R&D department of 25 people because of their shit rules)

Workers rights? :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:
Ok, so they don’t beat you if you’re late, but you usually get fined and staff in general is treated at something that can be disposed of when no longer needed.
There’s no such things as workers rights, it’s more of a “we’re such a nice company so we offer you the following and if you don’t like it, then get lost” or something close to that anyhow…

in said previous company, my coworkers did not even have such things as a work contract. when asked about this “if the company needs you, you go to work, when they don’t , the lay you off. same for yourself, you just leave whenever you want”

so having rights without a work contract is always difficult…

The thing I’ve never really understood is how can a manager expect his/her workers to perform in any way to the best of their abilities when they are slave driven with little incentive to do well? I guess that’s why things in general aren’t quite what they are back home.

You’re missing the point, no-one here is expecting anything, you’re only supposed to do what you’re told to do, nothing more, nothing less.
This isn’t a country where creativeness and productivity are features that are looked at when someone is hired in general, but rather if the person can do one single task and do it repeatedly without complaining and questioning the management. The system is crazy and it blows big times and this is why I no longer work for local companies.

several multi-million dollar deals with no bonus? did she at least get a thank you? of course she agreed to do the work under the terms of the employer. if no incentives were offered, none should be expected. if she has a strong history of bringing these type deals to the table. she should consider re negotiating her terms of employment with the current employer. if that does not work, take her customers to the competition.
workers rights are pretty much what the employer can get away with until the employee squeals. in a culture where don’t ask, don’t complain rules and no employee squeals, what do you think is going to happen.

Of course there are rights for workers. The enforcement of said rights is lacking in large part due to the employees’ lack of courage to stand up for themselves. I’ve seen the other extreme in Canada, where it is nearly impossible to fire someone, due to the unions. I also disagree with this. If we could find some middle ground, we’d be set. Bosses are often not qualified to manage people, or they simply don’t care. An employee that gets rest, appreciation and a personal life will produce much more than these zombies that mope around in fear. Furthermore, it would be quite easily to attain the same production in an 8 hour day that they do in 10 or 12 hours because they often just hang around being inefficient, playing on fb, etc. for much of the day. Tell your friend to learn the laws, and also the word ‘no’. If a bunch of expats can learn them, surely she can acquire them easily. Nothing with change until she is ready to take action when her rights are violated. Her boss may fire her, but he may not and she will have recourse if he does.

This sort of completely misleading and unfounded post should be deleted. There are government agencies which assist people with their rights here. However as nobody can accurately say what contract the persons being discussed had how an any of you make any informed judgements. Many people in Taiwan are starting to use government agencies to help with their employment issues. There is no need for some mis informed such as thelostweed person to be so deliberately misleading.

This sort of completely misleading and unfounded post should be deleted. There are government agencies which assist people with their rights here. However as nobody can accurately say what contract the persons being discussed had how an any of you make any informed judgements. Many people in Taiwan are starting to use government agencies to help with their employment issues. There is no need for some mis informed such as thelostweed person to be so deliberately misleading.[/quote]

Misleading? It’s the truth and it happened at a company I worked for here for a few months until I realised my mistake. If you were even a second late, you got fined NT$200 per half an hour and your manager had to sign off on you being late. And yes, the government has rules, rules that generally favour the companies. If a company want to get rid of you here, they don’t make you redundant, as it’s too expensive, instead they place you in a different position within the company where you end up doing tasks that will melt your brain or make you leave. Try parental leave, no-one dares to take six months off when they have a child here, as everyone knows that their job won’t be there when they return, as it’s been given to someone else and you’re now doing a job that pays half of what you used to get.
You need a reality check my friend, in as much as there are worker rights, most of them don’t apply as people don’t dare to force issues here as they’re afraid to lose their jobs. Everyone in Taiwan is replaceable when it comes to work, as businesses here don’t value their employees, they’re just there to do what they’re paid to do and nothing else.
Also, you might want to look up what sarcasm means in a dictionary, as in as much as it’s close to the truth, my initial statement was a sarcastic reaction to the OP’s post, but I guess that was something you failed to notice.

TheLostSwede: Whilst I do think that the average Taiwanese worker gets treated like shit, they also don’t bring anything of real value to the company. They are easily replaced because it’s easy to replace a zombie who screws around on Facebook all day. They’re regarded as worth little because they are worth little, and they’re worth little because they’re regarded as worth little. It’s a bit of a chicken and the egg thing. Regardless, I wouldn’t want the average Taiwanese person working for me. I wouldn’t try to treat them like shit, but I could see how my patience would wear very thin, very quickly and I’d probably start treating them like shit because they wouldn’t care enough to make me want to value them. Life is a two way street. If the average worker here doesn’t give a shit, why should the boss give a shit? Frankly, if I had carte blanche at the school where I work, I’d fire half of the teachers here within the first hour, though the problem would be that the next wave of replacements, and the wave after that, and the one after that ad infinitum, would be just as bad. The incompetence, lack of initiative and sheer laziness here is astounding, and I don’t think reworking the incentives to provide more carrot and less stick would necessarily make any difference. The only thing many of them do understand is a bigger stick. So, fuck 'em.

QFT. It’s painfully accurate.

Wow… and I though I was being harsh…
People here aren’t any more incompetent than anywhere else in the world, it’s just that they’re using to being told what to do all the time, so Taiwan has ended up being a nation where everything is micro managed. I work alongside the tech industry here and I’ve seen all sorts of employees here, from the most useless and unfit people for their job to people that are amazingly good at what they’re doing, yet they’re all treated the same by the management. Part of the reason for the way things are here is the education system and that’s hopefully where someone like you can make a difference. People here needs to learn to think for themselves, but most companies don’t like employees like that, so it’s a vicious circle in a way. Try to change things and higher management gets upset and gets rid of you, do something in a different way and the general staff won’t be able to follow, as they’re not taught to think on their own. It’s a difficult situation, especially when you add that so many people lie about their work history and school accreditation here, many of which are never found out for whatever reason. Someone from my girlfriends old company lied his way into her new company, but was found out and got fired pretty quickly, but that’s unusual here imho. Anyhow, I think you should give a shit because that’s the only way change can happen. I can just look at what one of my friends here has accomplished at the company he works for as upper middle management, although that’s only because his bosses understand what he’s trying to do and he’s got a team of local people working with him that can think and do thinks of their own without being told what to do all the time, it’s quite a sight in Taiwan, but it’s obviously possible to do.

TheLostSwede: I disagree that people all over the world are basically the same. If they were, places would basically be the same, but they’re not. I’ve been to about forty countries. I’ve been to Sweden and it’s not like this place at all. Things get done. They get done on time. They get done to a high standard. Individuals give a shit and take personal pride in what they do.

I don’t think it’s enough to just blame the system. At some point, people have to use their bloody heads and start acting like responsible adults instead of perpetual eleven year olds, even if their bosses are cunts.

The other day, I was in the school gym doing a workout. There was a class there going crazy because their teacher hadn’t turned up for class yet (this was ten minutes into the class). So, I took the initiative and supervised the class until she arrived. Every single day, I see certain teachers (sometimes one after another) stroll to class anywhere between five and ten minutes late. I see the most incredible laziness and incompetence around me on a daily basis, yet then the teachers complain that the kids have a bad attitude to school. My colleagues teach all of about fifteen periods per week, but they still can’t get their shit together to turn up to class on time. Turning up on time, doing what you’re meant to be doing, and doing it to at least the minimum level of competency shouldn’t be lauded as some sort of achievement. Yet my colleagues think they work oh so hard and it’s so difficult for them. They’d be shocked shitless if they ever had to go and teach in a school in Australia or the U.K. (where they’d have one free period per day if they were lucky, would spend all of their lunchtimes chasing kids, and would then somehow have to fit in lesson planning and the mountainous volume of marking and report writing expected of them in their own time), and probably most other Western countries also.

Likewise, we can find plenty of examples of shoddy construction work or general workmanship in this country. It’s an open secret that the traffic police are completely piss poor at their jobs and so on. These guys are just phoning it in, so why should I have any respect for them? They’re not getting a raw deal if they turn up to work and fuck around on Facebook all day. I fuck around on Forumosa all day, but I still manage to turn up to class on time and do a good job, so it doesn’t matter, but these clowns can’t even do that. So no, it’s not harsh; it’s not harsh enough.

Well, a lot of it really has to do with the system.
No-one’s taught to take responsibility here, as their parents are always there to help out and look after them, I mean for crying out loud, 30 year olds (and even 40+ in some cases I know) are still living at home with their parents! No wonder things are the way they are. Where I come from everyone starts to think something’s wrong if you haven’t moved out of your parents by the time you’re in your mid 20’s if not earlier.
Education starts in the home, not in school as they seem to think here and imho most people here with a degree seems to have acquired no knowledge whatsoever.
I still believe most people are the same when they start out in life, as if you take a person born in this country and place them somewhere else in the world while they’re growing up, they’re not going to be like a person growing up here.
I think much of it comes down to a lack of pride, people here aren’t proud over what they accomplish. This isn’t helped by the idea that if you’re not number one, you’re a nobody and there’s no wonder there are so many people killing themselves here.
This is way off topic now though, but I have meet people here that are very good at their jobs and people that have just ended up in the wrong position in the wrong company in the wrong industry… yet somehow no-one seems to notice…

With regards to construction and workmanship here, it kind of goes back to the whole thing about cheap is good which seems to be a mantra here. It’s something I’m dealing with on a nearly daily basis as the Taiwanese have become experts on “cost down” no matter if it’s needed or not. Most companies here seems to believe that if you have the cheapest product, then you have the best product, something I never understood.

Don’t even get me started on the so called police here or having to deal with government agencies here, inefficiency seems to be their motto along with giving you the run around as soon as you have to provide them with anything more than the most basic of information. I can see why accounts here charge what they charge, it’s not that it’s rocket science to fill out a couple of forms, but getting all the papers with the right stamps are a real pain in the backside.

Anyhow, I do believe it’s possible for things to change here, but it’s going to take a couple of generations and some harder times, as looking at the current teenage generation (which they apparently call the tofu generation) they have never had to do anything their entire lives and as such they’re not prepared to become adults. I guess having grown up on the country side makes me a bit different, but I had to help out back home since I was a kid, it was just part of life and I was never given a choice. In as much as I hated it back then, I think at least it prepared me a little bit for working life. I got myself summer jobs as a teenager to be able to buy whatever I wanted to get, as my allowance wasn’t very much. And no, I’m not that old and I can’t say we were poor either, but my old man was pretty strict back then.

I think a lot of people just take things for granted and there really is a viscous circle here with over protective parents that only wants you to study so you can get good grades, a school system that force feeds you information rather than educates you and a working environment where the company only wants you to do one or two very specific tasks. You mentioned you’d been to Sweden, well, us Swede’s are generally encouraged to enjoy our childhood for as long as possible, we’re taught things in school, at least if we’re lucky enough to have good teachers of which I had a few and our employers are actively seeking to further educate us and make us a more valuable asset to their business. It’s not all about money, again something Taiwan needs to learn, as many incentives businesses give in Sweden include paid holidays, parental leave, further education and development within the company. Of course, some jobs have limitations in terms of where you can go, but you’re always encouraged to become better at your job, as no company in Sweden wants employees that just do their job and nothing more, as they’d see that as a waste of investment.

TheLostSwede: I think the great hope for this country is that plenty of people will go abroad and bring ideas back. I don’t see change as forthcoming from within Taiwanese culture. I know a guy who has just entered the civil service here. He’s very, very smart. He went to the best school in Taizhong, and then he did his entire university education in England. He’s highly critical of a lot of the bullshit that goes on here. Hopefully, there will be enough people like him to make a difference.

A new report by the ITUC on core labour standards in Taiwan (known at the WTO as “Chinese Taipei”), published to coincide with the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) review of its trade policies, finds that various categories of employees are barred from forming and joining unions, and that penalties in the law are insufficient to prevent anti—union discrimination. Furthermore, strikes are impeded in the form of long and complex procedures, although reforms to the Labour Union Law currently before Parliament should address some of these issues.

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They probably deserve the bad wage anyways. Anytime some news article about wages or employment comes up the comment section is full of accusation of the Ma Administration pandering to the big business interests and not really caring about the common people. What they also said is that whenever a labor right demonstration comes up everyone will say they will come, but when it happens few shows up.

I think that’s the big problem, the culture is far too passive to affect any change, so those in power will use that to keep things in order. Workers complain that their wages are too low, deductions too high (any sick days, days off, etc. are severely penalized), yet no one will even organize and bargain collectively. Not sure if its legal climate or something but if even 20% of a company’s workforce decided to stop they will have to listen. Sure they can just go hire someone else but that takes time, meaning missed deadline and fines. Some say the average Taiwanese is too selfish to care about the social condition.

You can call the labor government, then they will come to your company and enforce the law. I have seen this happening with my own eyes. The owner of company refused to pay for over tim until 1 employee had enough and called the labor government. The next morning the labor government came to the office and ordered the owner to pay. Of course he was pissed, but he never found out who called the labor government

This is a great post. Taiwan will never enough labor laws, and any employee who actually reports his or her boss for an infraction is nearly humiliated to death. Almost 100% of Taiwanese people commit white collar crime. Families are run as business, and for every legitimate worker within a family there are nearly 3 others working under the table and collecting benefits. My girlfriend did this for nearly 6 months. It is not much, but it is still unethical. On a familial level, the extortion is much larger, and it often spreads into other countries to maintain wealth because of separate banking systems.