Legislative Yuan, Zhongzheng district, Taipei. Photo: Google Maps

Taiwanese lawmakers on Friday began discussions at the Legislative Yuan on amending the controversial five-day-week policy, and it was hoped that a consensus could be achieved that maximized benefits for all – the government, employers and workers.

The five-day-week policy, which was launched on January 1, ensures that a worker can enjoy one fixed day off 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, Taiwan Times reported.

Since its implementation, the policy has stirred up criticism for being too rigid. Critics have complained that it is not very applicable to certain industries, the calculation of rest days and overtime payment is too complicated, and other problems.

According to a report by United Daily News, the employer side suggested that the average quota for monthly overtime work hours be set at 46, where unused hours could be carried forward within the same quarter of the year.

However, employee representatives disagreed, saying work hours should not be retained for future use, which would violate the original intent of the policy. If the allocation of unused overtime hours were allowed, it could be abused by employers to victimize vulnerable workers.

The workers’ side added that problems arose not because of the policy itself, but because some employers did not truly respect its spirit or implement it properly.