The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) has mandated the creation of local government web pages that release the names of companies who violate Taiwan’s Labor Standards Act. These web pages are aggregated on a central CLA portal.
The Legislature gave the CLA authority to disclose the names of employers when it amended Article 79 of the Act in June. Article 79 is a penalty provision that lists fines that the labor authorities may impose for violations of the Act’s mandatory minimum standards.
The June amendment increased the amounts of the fines because of concern that companies “would rather pay excessively low fines than comply.” While the Legislature did not explain why it also authorized the CLA to disclose the names of the employers, it seems clear from the context that the Legislature intended disclosure to operate as an additional, non-economic deterrent.
At first Keelung City and Nantou County failed to comply with the October deadline for creating their websites. Interestingly, New Taipei City originally publicly refused to comply, but has since changed its stance.
Despite initial local reluctance by the counties and cities, the blacklists are now very much a reality.
For example Kuo Kuang Motor Transport Limited, a former state-owned intercity bus company, has already been listed twice by different municipalities for violating Article 32 of the Act, which limits the maximum number of hours an employee can work in one day (4) and in one month (46).
While Taipei City, New Taipei City, and Taichung City have all listed violators, other jurisdictions such as Changhua County, Kaohsiung City, and the Science Parks have not. It is unclear whether this is because no violations have occurred in these jurisdictions or whether different jurisdictions have different schedules for updating their sites.
An additional problem at this early stage is that different city and county governments give different types of information on their sites. Some governments provide detailed information regarding the nature of the offence, the action taken and the business owners’ names, while others merely list the type and date of violation.
It remains to be seen whether the CLA, and the local governments can reach a consensus on the details that will lead to the effective running of the website, but in the meantime, Taiwan’s vibrant Chinese-language media has taken a strong interest in the blacklist.