Taoyuan City Hall, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

Migrant workers have been enjoying better labor protection in Taiwan since a controversial five-day-workweek policy was implemented in August last year.

The Department of Labor of Taoyuan, northwestern Taiwan, says the amount of overtime pay for migrant workers who sought help from the department was NT$14 million (more than US$463,500) in the first half of this year. It said that was an increase from a year ago, according to a report by United Daily News, but it did not disclose the amount of overtime pay in the first half of 2016.

The number of labor disputes in Taoyuan, which has 20,000 foreign caregivers and 70,000 migrant factory workers, reached 1,907 in the first half of the year, most of which were due to issues involving  overtime pay, it said. A total of 504 cases were settled.

Other employer malpractices included treating workers improperly, taking away employees’ passports, and discrimination.

The five-day-week policy, launched by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, ensures that a worker can enjoy one fixed holiday per week and another flexible rest day. A worker can get overtime pay if he or she is required to work on the flexible rest day.

Since the new rule was implemented in August 2016, the amount of outstanding overtime pay increased as migrant workers were entitled to higher wages, said Chang Cher-hung, chief of the Foreign Workers Service Section.

Chang said employers who failed to pay their employees overtime could be subject to fines ranging from NT$20,000 to NT$1 million.

The new rule was also implemented in other parts of Taiwan but local governments can set their own pace of launching penalties.

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