Pay overtime without fail or else, Taiwan employers warned 

Employees working overtime must be compensated by getting overtime pay and not by other methods, says Taiwan’s Ministry of Labour.
By: | September 25, 2023

Employers should compensate employees working overtime with pay in accordance with the law, Taiwan’s labour ministry has recently emphasised. 

According to the Ministry of Labour, fines issued to businesses for breaking overtime laws reached NT$62 million (US$1.94 million) in 2022. Imploring employers to do better, the ministry said any employee who works overtime must be paid without fail.

Common labour violations include employees being forced to take extra leave in return for working overtime instead of receiving overtime pay. Employers have also been found underpaying employees for overtime worked.

It is common for employers to define certain parts of the salary employees receive monthly as an “attendance bonus,” “night shift bonus,” or similar, the ministry said. This means that often overtime hours are calculated using an hourly rate based on the “basic salary” that does not include these “bonuses.”

Labour ministry spokesperson Huang Wei-chen said that these ‘bonuses’ are regarded by the ministry as part of an employee’s wage.

“We need to judge if each payment item (on a person’s pay stub) is renumeration for work. If renumeration items are not related to work, they can be classified as a benefit, otherwise they will be treated as salary,” Huang said. Employees’ overtime wages must be calculated to the minute, the ministry added.

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Taiwan-based labour activist Roy Ngerng told Taiwan News that while the issue was now receiving media attention, the labour ministry should do more than just put out a statement. “The key issue is that workers might feel powerless about reporting such violations because they fear losing their jobs or be treated unfairly by their employer in retaliation,” he said.

More regular education of employers should occur, with checks on businesses who break the law, and employees should be able to organise and protest for their rights, Ngerng added.