TAIPEI (4-Way Voice) — In recent years, the number of migrant workers in Taiwan has surged to around 700,000, mainly to the benefits of local businesses.
According to various tallies, 95 percent of them are blue-collar workers and most work in Taiwan’s “3D industries” (dangerous, difficult, dirty). With Chinese New Year around the corner, many people wonder: will these workers get time off to celebrate?
According to article 57 of the “Employment Service Act,” employers are not allowed to appoint work that is not within the sphere of foreign workers’ permit. If they were to violate such terms, they could be fined between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000.
Despite the law, many employers deny foreign workers’ rights during the holidays. In a thesis published by an assistant professor at the National Dong Hwa University, many migrant fishermen don’t have regulated time-off. They have to work whenever their employer calls, day or night, he said.
Fishermen argue that their job descriptions are not limited to mere fishing. They also have to clean the boat, fix machines, organize equipment and fish hooks, and prepare bait. Many say that they also have to do additional house chores for their employers, the researcher added.
While families celebrate the Chinese New Year with new clothes and abundant food, Taiwan public should know that many people from Taiwan and abroad still have to work during the holidays with little in return.