Taipei City fines 140 businesses for labor violations

The Taipei City Department of Labor fined 140 businesses for violations of the Labor Standards Act (LSA) in September and October. Forty-four businesses were fined for failing to keep records of employee attendance while 32 were fined for failing to pay full wages or salary directly to employees. LSA §§ 30(5) and 22(2).

Fines for failure to track employee attendance often arise out of what are known as ‘responsibility systems’ (zeren zhi) for professional employees. Under these schemes, employees do not clock in and out. In some cases, employers use these systems to avoid paying overtime to salaried office employees. Taiwan’s labor laws require that all employees protected by Labor Standards Act be paid overtime. There is no distinction between employees earning hourly wages and those paid a monthly salary as in some other jurisdictions.

Another twenty-eight businesses were fined for failing to pay overtime and 35 business were fined for extending working hours beyond permissible overtime limits or failing to give employee at least one day off every seven days. LSA § 24.

The violations by 50 businesses were serious enough to publish their names and violations  on the Department’s website.  Violators included malls, listed Taiwanese IT manufacturers, a foreign bank, a TV station, and a religious charity. The largest fine of NT$640,000 (c. US$21,000) was imposed on a construction company with four violations. The construction company was a repeat offender. The largest fine imposed on a company with no previous record was NT$120,000 (c. US$4,000) for six violations. It appears that many of the violations involved white collar professionals.

By law, fines can range from NT$20,000 (US$667) to NT$300,000 (US$10,000) for each violation. LSA §  79. Fines can be appealed to the Taipei City Government and in the administrative courts if necessary. While the amounts of the fines are not large, they are rising and fines are more frequent than in the past. The Department also appears to be targeting high profile businesses and does not hesitate to name names.

The Department’s press release in Chinese is here.