Who can I contact with questions about my contract?

I’m a Canadian with an APRC. I went to the Ministry of Labor at 207 Songjiang road, with my contract in hand. I wanted to ask some questions about it. I asked security where I should go, and they just handed me a phone. So I explained the whole thing to the lady on the other end. She said she doesn’t think I’m entitled to any of it (my questions) because I’m paid hourly, but she wasn’t sure. So she said she’d ask her coworker.

She just blind transfers me over, so I have to explain everything again. This lady says she thinks I’m entitled to ALL of it but she’s not sure. So she gives me a completely different number to call. I call and explain the whole thing again, and the girl says she doesn’t know, but I should talk to the Ministry of Labor (the people I had just talked to) :man_facepalming:. She tries to transfer me, but by now it’s almost 5pm so no one is answering and I just get a Chinese recording.

So, my question is: if I have questions about my contract, who can I talk to, or where should I go?

If you’re interested to know my questions, here they are:
I work at an office job in Taipei. My company is not renewing my contract because they’re downsizing. My contract is up in about a month. I haven’t received written notice yet, but I’ve been told verbally that it’s going to happen. So, I haven’t seen the “official” written reason for them letting me go.

My contract is a fixed-term one-year contract paid hourly. It pays $350 an hour, for 40 hours a week. The company pays for some vacation time (as much as is legally required) but doesn’t pay for any holidays, including Chinese New Year.

My questions are:

Am I entitled to severance pay?
Am I entitled to time off to find work?
Is it legal for them to avoid paying holidays like they’re doing?
Am I entitled to vacation pay? (As of the end of the contract, I’ll have worked exactly two years at the company. I’ve taken 7 days off total so far during my tenure.)
In the unlikely even that I can’t find work by the end of May, am I entitled to file for employment insurance?

Any information is tremendously appreciated. Thanks

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assuming you are working in Taipei

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Yes I work in Taipei. OK, I think this is the place I talked to yesterday, but they said they couldn’t help and that I should talk to the Ministry of Labor. But I’ll go there today and see if they can help. Thanks

I just went through something similar as you, and I got let go with severance pay because I couldn’t accept their indentured servitude-like conditions.

For where to call, your best friend are these phone numbers with extensions: https://www.tealit.com/article_categories.php?section=arcs&article=offices

I have called them before (despite not being in Taipei) to ask questions. They do speak English.

Yes, you are definitely entitled to severance pay. You can refer here: https://www.songjer.com/terminationofemploymentintaiwan

This I don’t know, unfortunately. I don’t believe there’s such a thing. You can, of course, request time off, but whether it’s paid or not, I don’t know for sure. My guess is no. I could be wrong, so I recommend calling and asking. You could go in and have them help you understand your contract. That’s the best thing to do, and it’s what I did myself.

No, it’s not legal. I’ve had something like that happen to me. It doesn’t matter if it’s hourly or not. If you’re their employee, you are entitled to holiday pay. They cannot get out of it.

We know this from the Ministry of Labor itself: 時薪制勞工的權益-勞動部全球資訊網中文網


  1. Does the basic salary “hourly salary” include the regular salary for holidays and rest days? Answer: According to the Labor Standards Law, workers should have 2 days off every 7 days, of which 1 day is a holiday and 1 day is a rest day, and the employer should pay the holiday and rest day wages (that is, although there is no duty of attendance, However, the employer should still pay the original agreed remuneration), and the above-mentioned regulations apply to workers who are paid by the day or by the hour; that is to say, the employer should still pay part-time labor holiday and rest day wages.

This I also don’t really know, but I did find this. Taiwanese labor standards are the bare minimum, so it should really be in the contract itself. Things can be better than the minimum laws, but they can never be worse: Taiwan Leave Laws - Vacation Tracker

If you’ve worked there that long, I think the answer is yes.

Bottom line is go to the labor department with your contract and ask about the legality of things. Do a labor dispute if you find that things are not according to law. It’s how I handled my situation. Hope that helps. Don’t let them get away with breaking laws!


You don’t go to the national Ministry of Labour. You go to the labour affairs department in your city and county. They are at City Hall or County Hall


Well, now I’m at City Hall. I tried to go to the 5th floor (Department of Labor) but all the doors were closed and there was no way inside without a swipe card. Their website says they’re open until 5:30pm but maybe they’re only open until 5pm?

I tried calling them using the number on their website. I asked if it was the Department of Labor. The man asked what I wanted and I said I had questions about my contract. He wanted more details, so I explained my whole story AGAIN and he asked me many questions, put me on hold, came back and asked me more questions. Then the man said he wasn’t sure and I should talk to the Department of Labor (I thought that’s who I called?)

So he told me to call extension 7015 or 7016 after several tries I got a lady but she couldn’t speak English. So I explained to her in my limited Chinese that I was on the fifth floor. She said I should go to the first floor. So I went there and I found an information booth and asked the girl there about it. She said I shouldn’t talk to the department of labor, I should talk to a lawyer.

I called 7015 back but the lady wasn’t answering so I got the guy on 7016 but he couldn’t speak English either. After several unsuccessful attempts to transfer me, he took my name and number and I think he said someone will call me, but I’m not holding my breath.

A very frustrating experience. I have Tuesday morning off, so I’ll come back here and try again then (sigh)

You have to talk to them and ask about doing a labor dispute (勞資爭議) if nothing works out. Ask them about this and ask them if they can get a translator (or bring a friend with you who can help). You generally won’t need a power of attorney, but they’ll give you one anyway (I do recommend filling it out). It takes on average around a month to get an appointment (they’ll tell you within 20 business days), and you’ll end up going there with your employer at the same time where the employer will have to explain why they’re right, and why you’re wrong. There will be no other way to recover funds they owe you if you DON’T go this route. Of course, the best way to do this is to cite stuff off the labor department’s site and ask to be remunerated, which they’ll likely balk at and not budge. If they refuse, drag them to a dispute. If they’re doing that with OTHER people, too, I recommend you report the entire company and give your evidence (called 申訴公司, something I had done myself) because that’s the only way they’ll learn a lesson in not ignoring Taiwanese laws.


As great as that is, there are two (main) problems with getting their help (#2 and #3/#4).

#1. While you certainly CAN ask them to explain things, they have a limited number of minutes they can talk to you.
#2. If you don’t want to pay out of pocket for a lawyer, you have to prove a lot of stuff. They’re mostly for people who are disabled or really poor.
#3. They will NOT help you UNTIL you go through a labor dispute. I can confirm this through my personal experience because that’s what they told me.
#4. They’re the last resort–meaning you can use their help when you go to court, provided everything above has been done.

Thanks for helping to outline the process. They (my company) haven’t said anything yet about what I will and won’t be getting. They haven’t even given me written notice. Before I talk to them about it, I want to show my contract to the Department of Labor just to clarify what I’m legally entitled to. Once I’m sure what my rights are, then I’ll ask my company and yeah like you say, if they balk or refuse to pay, then I’ll likely have to go down your path

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no. i linked them just for general legal inquiry for free. they can give some general answers to OP’s questions. or definite answers for some of them. the lawyer, the girl at information booth meant it, i guess.

there are several choices. some are specifically for labour issues.

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If you want legal advice on your contract rights before there is a dispute, you should probably pay a lawyer to get it. You can’t expect to get free, effective legal advice from a government agency in this situation. You would also be unwise to rely on it.

Although civil servants often (but not always) know the regulations well, they are not lawyers and do not think strategically. Beware of being helped out just because you are a foreigner. The civil servant who helps you will mean well but could very well end up giving you poor advice or you could easily misunderstand it.

The Legal Aid Foundation should be able to refer you to a lawyer with reasonable rates who can help. A one hour consultation in Chinese should be NT$5-$6,000. The same consultation in English will be more like NT$10,000.

Very roughly, it sounds like you might have somewhere between NT$50,000 and NT$100,000 at stake depending on many variables that a lawyer would be able to explain to you. If I were in your position, I would think about whether NT$5,000 is worth it to you for advice on NT$50k that you may or may not end up getting. You would be charged NT$10,000 for this advice in a small Canadian town and almost certainly more in Toronto.

If you are terminated and are dissatisfied with whatever your employer gives you, you can apply for labor mediation at your local labor department. In my experience, most foreigners manage to muddle through it and end up getting something although usually less than they imagine. You would be better prepared for the mediation process if you took advice from a lawyer first.

The internet is not the place to get legal advice and this is simply intended to give you a few things to think about and point you in the right direction.

I would just add that fixed-term contracts lend themselves to disputes and often involve an attempt to get out of employer obligations under the labor law. That’s especially true in cases where total employment has lasted for more than one year. This fact in your case would incline me to seek a lawyer’s advice if possible.

I believe that severance pay is in play if an employment contract is terminated by the employer, and as I read it that is not what the employer is doing. Are they terminating the contract before it’s finished, or are they simply not going to offer another - and is everyone, (edit: every not everyone) contracted employee in Taiwan entitled to ‘severance pay’ when the contract ends?

whether the employment is really fixed term or actually it is non fixed term would be the main dispute point OP would need a lawyer, if they wouldn’t agree before they would go to a court.

OP may know on regulations for each case, and woulf get some opinion on the nature of the employment during a free legal consulting and mediation.

A contract is saying it is a fixed term contract doesn’t necessarily mean the employment contract is actually a fixed term contract.

I’m glad you brought this issue up. I always knew the MOL was out there if I needed it, but I never considered where you actually go.

The OP stated the contract had a fixed term and that doesn’t mean the contract is a fixed term contract… I may have missed your meaning; perhaps there is a simple example of such a contract?

Isn’t severance pay for those who have been terminated without cause?

i know my wording isn’t good to explaine.

you sold a package of pork with a label saying it was beef, doesn’t make the meat sold beef.

Article 9 of labour standard act

Labor contracts may be divided into two categories: fixed term contracts and non-fixed term contracts. A contract in nature for temporary, short-term, seasonal or specific work may be made as a fixed term contract, but a contract for continuous work, should be a non-fixed term contract. The labor contract between a dispatching entity and a dispatched worker shall be a non-fixed term contract.
In any one of the following situations, a fixed term contract shall be deemed as to be a non-fixed term upon the expiration of the contract:

  1. Where an employer raises no immediate objection when a worker continues his/her work.
  2. Where, despite the execution of a new contract, the prior contract and the new one together cover a period of more than ninety days and the period of time between expiration of the prior contract and execution of the new one does not exceed thirty days.
    The preceding paragraph shall not apply in the case of a fixed term contract for specific or seasonal work.

company may say the work is specific, but just they say so isn’t enough. it should be actually specific.


Even in Mandarin, people sometimes mix up the Ministry (部) with the Department (局 or in some places 處).

There’s some good advice in this thread already, but to recap:

  1. local labor department (generally at City Hall) – check first to see which days/times they have free lawyers available for quick consultations
  2. Legal Aid Foundation – make an appointment for a quick consultation
  3. Taipei City Hall ground floor lawyer service for a quick consultation
  4. a lawyer you find by yourself
  5. in Taipei, the Labor Standards Inspection Office (a sub-department of the labor department), or in other cities whatever they call the equivalent, if they have one.

All answers below are based on the assumption that your contract is a labor contract (勞動契約), which is the case for most private sector jobs. See here for an explanation of why it’s sometimes not the case.

Am I entitled to severance pay?

Severance pay applies if Labor Standards Act Art. 11 (getting laid off with cause) or Art. 14 (quitting with cause) applies. Being fired without cause (improper use of Art. 12 by the employer) is a valid reason to quit with cause, but a generic end of contract is just a generic end of contract, so there’s no severance pay unless there happens to be enough of a violation for some other reason to invoke Art. 14. Based on precedent, an employer’s failure to register the worker or employee for labor insurance (when it’s mandatory, which it usually is) is sufficient to invoke Art. 14, and failure to pay 100% of wages on time can be but isn’t if it’s only a “small” amount of money. This is Taiwan though, so precedents are not binding.

Am I entitled to time off to find work?

If you’re being laid off, yes. See LSA Art. 16(?).

Is it legal for them to avoid paying holidays like they’re doing?

No. See LSA Art. 37 and 39, and see the Enforcement Rules of the LSA for the current list of paid statutory holidays. Also see the definition of “wage” in Art. 2, and just in case the employer tries to claim hourly means part-time (even though at 40h/week you’re full-time), also see the MOL’s guidance document for part-time contracts that’s hidden somewhere on its website.

Am I entitled to vacation pay? (As of the end of the contract, I’ll have worked exactly two years at the company. I’ve taken 7 days off total so far during my tenure.)

Yes. See LSA Art. 38(?).

In the unlikely even that I can’t find work by the end of May, am I entitled to file for employment insurance?

Check with the Bureau of Labor Insurance (which administers both labor insurance and employment insurance).

For the LSA etc., see https://www.mol.gov.tw or https://www.moj.gov.tw. The MOL site has labor laws and regulations, plus official interpretation letters but only in Chinese. The MOJ site has all laws such as the Civil Code etc. Don’t trust the English versions 100%.

This is the correct term for the type of dispute, but the process referred to here is labor dispute mediation (勞資爭議調解). Please note, you can get faster service if you let the labor department refer you to another organization, but you can expect a higher quality of mediation if you choose the department’s own mediation service. If a settlement is unlikely (cold day in Hell situation), just get it over with so that you can move to the next step (going to court or requesting a labor inspection). You don’t need to accept any proposed settlement.

Technically there is, but it’s still good advice. If you go directly to court, the court will set up its own mediation before the trial, and if you don’t settle, you can end up doing three mediation sessions. You only get a partial refund of the court fee if you settle, whereas if you go through the labor department (or another organization it refers you to) the mediation is free, and then if there’s no settlement you can skip the court mediation.

I think you’re referring to a complaint to the Labor Standards Inspection Office. If you go this route, the company can be fined if it’s found in violation of the LSA, so that’s a good motivator. If you sue the company, that’s just a civil process (between you and the company), whereas fines are administrative penalties (between the company and the government). In most cases, the fines would be much higher than what the company owes a worker or employee. If you haven’t done mediation already, the company can delay the inspection by requesting mediation.

True. Same problem as any free lawyer service.

#2. If you don’t want to pay out of pocket for a lawyer, you have to prove a lot of stuff. They’re mostly for people who are disabled or really poor.

If you ask them to take on your case, you need to prove your income and assets are low enough (see their website for the exact levels), but for a short consultation all you need is an appointment (unless this has changed recently).

Quality of lawyers varies, whether they’re working for a foundation, for a government office, or directly for a client. Expect most to be unfamiliar with the intricacies of laws-for-foreigners.


I’ll just repeat that for most foreigners, a permanent (non-fixed term) contract is technically impossible. Since OP is a permanent resident, it’s possible. Whether it actually is or isn’t a fixed term contract depends on the facts of the individual case.


Thanks for all the replies! I finally got to talk to someone today. Here is what she said:

1, Due to the nature of the work I’m doing (i.e. not seasonal work), I shouldn’t be under a fixed-term contract. She said my entire contract “may be illegal” (her words, not mine).
2. Severance Pay: Normally severance pay doesn’t apply to a fixed-term contract. But if the contract is illegal, then I may be entitled to something.
3. Days Off to Look for Work: Like #2, because it’s a fixed-term contract I shouldn’t get days off to look for a job. But as in #1, the contract may be illegal.
4. Holidays: She said because my wage is “high” (i.e., higher than minimum), I may not get holiday pay because the company would argue that the holiday pay is included as part of the negotiated hourly wage.
5. She did say I’m entitled to whatever vacation day pay I’m still owed.

She suggested I fill out a form for mediation, but I said that as of right now I still haven’t discussed the issue with my employer. So, she handed me a form to apply for mediation and suggested that after I talk to my employer, if we can’t reach an agreement, we let it go to mediation.

Pay day is on the 10th so I want to wait until at least May 10th to raise the issue. My fear is that once I raise the issue with my employer, they’ll withhold ALL payment until the dispute is resolved. My dream is that talking about the government and mediation scares them enough that they want to just settle the situation to avoid the government coming in and looking at their books, but I know that’s unlikely.