The Legislative Yuan or legislature in Taipei's Zhongzheng district. Photo: Google Maps

Seven public holidays that were eliminated in an effort to pave way for implementation of a five-day week by President Tsai Ing-wen’s government should be restored prior to any discussion about changes to the controversial law, labor unions in Taiwan say.

An online petition on “restoring the seven public holidays” has gathered over 4,000 signatures – only a 1,000 names short of the minimum requirement needed to press the government to officially comment on this public concern, the Udn Daily News reported on Wednesday.

A labor union representative surnamed Chen said workers have not seen much actual benefit from the five-day-week policy, such as higher overtime payments or more rest days, while being deprived of their rights after the seven public holidays were cancelled.

The seven holidays are New Year’s Day, Youths’ Day, Teachers’ Day, Taiwan Retrocession Day, the birthday of President Chiang Kai-shek, the birthday of Dr Sun Yat-sen and Constitution Day.

She argued that regardless of amendments for the policy, all Taiwan workers should have been entitled to these seven public holidays as a standard holiday entitlement, which would restore the total number to 19 days annually.

Read: Talks begin on amending controversial 5-day workweek

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