The Labor Standards Act is the fundamental labor law in Taiwan. First enacted in 1984, the act has been gradually expanded to cover almost all employees in the private sector.
Other laws affect employment relationships, including the:
- Employment Insurance Act (unemployment benefits);
- Collective Bargaining Agreement Act;
- Employment Services Act (nondiscrimination, employment promotion, foreign workers);
- Gender Equality in Employment Act;
- Labor Insurance Act (maternity, occupational or nonoccupational injury and illness, medical care, permanent disability, retirement and survivor benefits);
- Labor Pension Act;
- Labor Safety and Health Act;
- Labor Union Law;
- Occupational Accident Labor Protection Act;
- Protective Act for Mass Redundancy of Employees; and
- Settlement of Labor Disputes Law.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Regular work hours may not exceed eight per day or 40 per week. With the approval of a labor union or labor-management committee, hours may be redistributed among workdays, provided that the total regular working time does not exceed 48 hours in any one week. Without changing the number of hours, they work, employees may flexibly adjust daily start and end times within a one-hour time frame.
If an unexpected event or emergency leads an employer to suspend a worker’s regular weekly day off or annual or holiday leave, the worker must be paid twice his or her usual wage for the canceled leave and provided with compensatory time off. The employer must file a report with local authorities within 24 hours of the leave suspension explaining the reasons for it. Labor Standards Act, 2002, §30, 35-36, 39; Labor Standards Law, amendment, 2018.
For overtime under two hours, workers must be paid 1.33 times their regular hourly wage. The third hour of overtime onwards, workers are entitled to 1.66 times their regular hourly wage.
Overtime must be paid based on the actual number of hours worked. The total of regular work hours plus overtime cannot exceed 12 hours per day. Overtime also cannot exceed 54 hours per month and 138 hours over a three-month period.
Employees must be given the option to convert their overtime into compensatory leave, but if they are unable to use the compensatory in an agreed period of time or before their contract expires, the employer must convert it back into an overtime payment.
Women are generally not permitted to work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless the labor union or the labor-management committee consents. If such consent is given, the employer must provide transportation or overnight housing for female workers, as well as safety and health facilities.
Pregnant women or mothers who are breastfeeding are barred from night work.
A worker is entitled to a break of at least 30 minutes after working four continuous hours. The break can be rescheduled if work cannot be interrupted.
A worker is entitled to at least two days off in a week for weekly rest. One day is regular leave and the other is a rest day. In certain industries, employers may determine the regular day off.
Employees also must have a daily rest period of at least 11 hours between shifts. However, effective March 1, 2018, employees can be asked to work 12 days in a row and work shifts with only eight hours of rest in between. Employers must get approval from the appropriate federal agencies and their employees in order to do so.
An employer shall pay overtime wages for any work on a rest day. If the overtime is worked on the employee’s day of rest, the overtime rates are 1.33 and 1.66 respectively.
Sunday is considered a holiday. Any work done on a Sunday is paid at double the regular rate for the hours worked plus one day’s regular pay.
Employees are entitled to the following 12 national holidays in Taiwan:
- Jan. 1: Founding Day of the Republic of China
- Feb. 28: Peace Memory Day
- May 1: Labor Day
- Spring Festival (three days)
- Children’s Day
- Dragon Boat Festival
- Mid-Autumn Festival
- New Year’s Eve (lunar calendar)
- Tomb Sweeping Day: Qingming Festival of the Lunar calendar
- National Day
Employers can give employees paid holidays on other non-public holidays at their discretion. If the employees consent to work on a weekday which is a statutory holiday, they must be paid an additional one day’s regular pay along with the regular rate of pay. If an emergency requires employees to work on a holiday, they must be paid twice their regular rate and given compensatory time off.
If a public holiday falls on a weekend, a day in lieu is granted by the government. If a holiday falls on a Saturday, the deferred day off is on the preceding workday; if a holiday falls on a Sunday, the deferred day off is on the following workday. The deferred days off for Chinese New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year, however, are always on the following workdays.
Employees who have worked for the same employer for at least a year are entitled to paid annual leave based on their years of service:
- At least six months but less than one year: three days’ leave
- More than 12 months: seven days’ leave
- More than two years: 10 days’ leave
- More than three years: 14 days’ leave
- More than five years; 15 days’ leave
- One additional day of leave for each year of service over 10 years up to a maximum 30 days’ leave.
Although employees have the right to determine when to take their annual leave, employers may negotiate the timing with employees if they have urgent operational demands. The period within which annual leave must be used can be based on:
- Service years;
- Calendar years;
- School years;
- Fiscal years; or
- Any other annual leave system agreed to by the employer and employee.
Unused annual leave may be carried forward to the following year. The carried-forward leave must be paid out to employees if it is not used by the end of that year. In an emergency, an employer can suspend a worker’s planned leave but must compensate the employee at 2.0 times the regular wage rate for work during that time and grant leave after the emergency has ended. Labor Standards Act, 2001, §38-40.
The basic minimum wage applies to all industries in Taiwan and is determined by the Labor Department’s Basic Wage Commission with the approval of the Executive Yuan. The current minimum hourly wage is NT140. Effective for 2019, the minimum wage will rise to NT150 per hour.
Regular sick leave may not exceed 30 days in one year. If the employee is hospitalized, he or she is entitled to unpaid sick leave of up to one year in any two years. The employee is paid half his or her regular salary during the 30 days’ leave, either from the government’s labor insurance fund alone or in part from the fund and in part by the employer. If the employer does not pay for sick leave, payment from the government’s labor insurance fund begins on the fourth day of sickness. Labor Standards Act, 2001, §9, 20, 35.
Eight weeks’ maternity leave is mandatory for full and part-time employees. In the event of a miscarriage, a woman is entitled to four weeks’ leave if the miscarriage occurs after three months of pregnancy, one week if it occurs two to three months into the pregnancy and five days if it occurs less than two months into the pregnancy.
A woman who has been employed for more than six months is paid her regular wage during maternity leave. If she has been employed less than six months, she is paid at half her regular wage. In addition, a maternity grant equal to one month’s earnings is paid following the birth of the child. Pregnant employees must be granted five days of leave for pregnancy check-ups, during which regular wages must be paid. An employee with a child under the age of 1 is entitled to two 30-minute rest periods with pay to breastfeed her baby. Employees with children under the age of 3 and with more than one year of service may take unpaid parental leave for up to two years.
An employee with children under 3 years old whose employer has more than 30 workers may request to reduce working time by one hour per day without pay or to adjust working hours. Pregnant or breastfeeding employees must not work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. An employer with more than 100 employees must provide child care either directly or by contracting with an existing, legally registered independent provider. Employers are prohibited from terminating an employment contract during maternity leave. Gender Equality Act, 2002, arts. 15, 18, 19; Labor Insurance Act, 2015, art. 19-2.
An employee whose spouse is in labor is entitled to five days off as paternity leave. Gender Equality Act, 2002, arts. 15, 18, 19.
Employees with children under the age of 3 and with more than one year of service may take unpaid parental leave, which may not exceed two years. Employees who have paid into the labor insurance program for at least a year are entitled to 60 percent of their regular wages for up to six months (per child) while taking parental leave. If there are two or more children requiring care at the same time, the allowance is paid for only one child. If both parents are covered by employment insurance and both take parental leave, they can apply for the allowance only for one child and must submit separate applications.
After the leave expires, an employer may not refuse to reinstate the employee unless the business has been disbanded or suspended, it has been losing money or it has reduced its workforce. In such cases, the employer must give the employee 30 days’ notice and provide severance or retirement pay as appropriate. Gender Equality Act, 2002, arts. 15, 18, 19.
Funeral leave with pay is given as follows:
- Eight days on the death of a parent, foster parent, stepparent or spouse;
- Six days on the death of a grandparent, child, spouse’s parent, foster parent or stepparent; and
- Three days on the death of a sibling, great-grandparent or spouse’s grandparent.
Employees may take up to 14 days per year of unpaid personal leave.
Employees are entitled to paid leave to fulfill legal obligations.
Female employees having difficulties performing their work during menstruation may request one-day menstruation leave each month. If the cumulative menstrual leaves do not exceed three days in a year, they must not be counted toward days off for sick leave. All additional menstrual leaves must be counted toward days off for sick leave. Employees on menstruation leave are entitled to half their regular wage.
A worker is entitled to eight days of paid wedding leave. Gender Equality Act, 2016, art. 20; Rules on Leave-Taking by Workers, 1985, arts. 3, 7-8; Employment Insurance Act, 2015, art. 19-2.
Last updated on: November 11th, 2019