Taiwan shoots down 4-day work week proposal

Government cites lack of data, 'wide-ranging impact' in response to petition

Taiwan shoots down 4-day work week proposal

Taiwan's government has rejected a public petition asking for a four-day work week, citing lack of data and the scheme's potential wide-ranging impact to society.

According to the Cabinet's Directorate-General of Personnel Administration (DGPA), most of the relevant agencies and organisations they consulted did not agree with a four-day work week and do not want to participate in it.

They said implementing a shorter work week will have a "wide-ranging impact" on people's lives, including business operations, transportation scheduling, financial foreign exchange settlement, stock market transactions, and students' rights and interests in education.

The respondents also noted the lack of data on four-day work weeks from other countries. Nations such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand have recently just carried out pilot testing of four-day work weeks on select organisations.

According to the DGPA, the organisations they consulted also pointed out that it is "not appropriate" to rashly implement a shortened work week for government agencies without supporting measures in place.

Massive public support

Over 5,000 people have signed the petition proposing a three-day weekend, citing its benefits on reducing employee turnover, increasing family time, and enhancing work efficiency.

This reflects the growing popularity of a four-day work week across the world. A recent survey from Robert Walters recently discovered that 89% of 2,000 professionals across the globe want their employer to implement the scheme.

The petition in Taiwan raised the lack of willingness among employees to go to work. It also pointed out that Taiwan has the fourth-highest average total working hours in 2021 with 2,000 hours.

Legal basis

Taiwan's Ministry of Labour, however, clarified that the ranking is only based on members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

In its response to the petition, the ministry also noted that the Labour Standards Act puts a "legal basis for the two-day weekly rest."

"A worker shall have two regular days off every seven days. One day is a regular leave and the other one is a rest day," the act said.

A three-day weekend can be achieved through flexible hours, said the ministry, citing the cases in the manufacturing and service industries.

According to the ministry, the two-day weekly rest remains the policy focus of the government, but it assured that it will strengthen inspections of labour conditions and promotion of relevant laws to prevent overworking among employees.

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