Taiwan protects working rights of middle-aged and senior workers

The Executive Yuan has passed a new Act to address the challenges of an ageing population and potential future labour shortages.
By: | February 2, 2021

The Middle-aged and Senior-aged Employment Act was promulgated in December 2019, but only came into force on December 4, 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic. 

The dedicated law seeks to protect the working rights of two groups – the middle-aged (45 to 65 years old) and the seniors (over 65 years old), covering both citizens and qualified foreigners. 

Although the Employment Service Act already prohibits age discrimination, the new Act provides further protection to the two groups. Employers are not allowed to show differential treatment against employees or job seekers on the basis of age unless there is an applicable legal exception, eg, the rationale is based on the requirements or special features of the job.

It requires employers to provide equal opportunities pertaining to recruitment, promotion, performance evaluation, training, remuneration and retirement. 

To incentivise employers to hire/retain middle-aged and senior-aged employees, the Act provides subsidies/awards to the employer if it does any of the following: 

(1) Keeping middle-aged and senior-aged employees gainfully employed; 

(2) Hiring unemployed middle-aged and senior-aged people, and/or 

(3) Assisting or re-employing retirees. 

Under the Labor Standards Act, fixed-term contracts are allowed only if there is an applicable legal exception. However, to incentivise employers to hire senior-aged workers, the Act allows employers and employees to enter into a fixed-term contract if the employees are more than 65 years old, according to Baker McKenzie.  

The Act will also support senior-aged workers in other ways. In addition to allowances, subsidies and reward incentives, the government provides unemployed middle-aged and senior workers with pre-employment training to enhance their job skills and competitiveness.

These workers will have access to job-matching services, entrepreneurial guidance, and business loan interest subsidies to help them return to the workforce or start their own businesses. 

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A talent database of the retired labour force will also be set up. In addition, talent service centres for older workers have been established to provide employment and job-matching services.  

Businesses with good track records of hiring middle-aged and senior workers will be publicly recognised to encourage employers to create more job positions.  

Public employment agencies will regularly collate and analyse employment data on middle-aged and senior citizens within their jurisdictions, including data such as the labour force situation, employment status, and labour supply and demand. These agencies will also publicise job openings in various categories, according to the Department of Information Services of the Executive Yuan.