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Taipei City to Slash Maximum Working Hours for Laborers in Special Lines

2011/04/13 | By Philip Liu

Taipei, April 13, 2011 (CENS)--To prevent the recurrence of overwork death, maximum working hours for laborers in certain special lines, including security personnel, flight attendants, and chauffeurs in Taipei City will be cut to 260 hours per month, down from existing 312, announced the Department of Labor, Taipei City Government, yesterday (April 12).

The new policy will affect 38 kinds of laborers specified in article 84-1 of Labor Standards Law, which authorizes municipal governments to determine their maximum working hours, due to the special nature of their works. Their maximum working hours are now set at 312 hours per month in Taipei City and New Taipei City, compared with 214 for common laborers, including overtime work.

The new working-hour limit is based on a reference opinion of the Cabinet-level Council of Labor Affairs, saying that overtime works exceeding 92 hours a month will greatly enhance the chance of overwork death. Currently, the Labor Standards Law caps the normal working hours for a four-week period at 168 hours. The two figures add up to 260, the proposed ceiling for those laborers in special lines in Taipei City.

A long-term study by the Department of Labor finds that 312 working hours per month entails a workload which is too heavy for the 38 kinds of laborers. Chen Yieh-hsin, chief of the department, hopes that the central government can enact a universal standards granting reasonable level of working hours for those laborers for the protection of their lives. Maximum working hours may be even lower than 260 for those with heavier work pressure, such as security personnel for cash transport vans, according to Chen.

The measure may increase the labor cost of employers, as they may have hire extra manpower to make up for the reduction of working hours.