Premier Lin Chuan convened an interministerial meeting today to discuss the “one day off in every seven days” measure to protect workers’ rights. Two resolutions were reached at the meeting:
1. In accordance with administrative regulations, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) should draw up and issue discretion standards for implementing Article 36 of the Labor Standards Act, ensuring that workers’ rights to have at least one day off in every seven days are protected.
2. When setting the discretion standards, the ministry should also take into consideration public convenience, government policies, and workers in certain public welfare industries. Flexibility should be allowed in scheduling consecutive work days to protect workers’ physical and mental health.
To prevent employers from exploiting a 1986 legal interpretation to overwork employees for many consecutive days, the MOL abolished the interpretation letter on June 29, to take effect August 1. With the abolition of the interpretation letter, the law will revert to the original Labor Standards Act, Article 36, which only requires that “a worker shall have at least one regular day off in every seven days.”
However, since this article does not require any two days off to be separated by six working days (or one day off to follow every six days of work), it cannot guarantee enforcement of the “one day off in every seven days” policy. The Executive Yuan therefore convened today’s meeting and instructed the MOL to come up with a new interpretation on discretion standards within two months to ensure that workers can indeed have one day off in every seven days of work.
To meet the needs of public convenience, national policies and public welfare activities (such as transportation for long public holidays), the labor ministry will consult with competent authorities on the special needs of workers in the tourism industry (such as tour guides), the media (journalists on overseas assignments) and public transportation. The ministry is seeking to improve understanding and communications with these industries and will allow special considerations to ensure that the rights of all workers are protected.