So here I am during the work makeup day. This is a fair and legal day for every company in Taiwan to exploit their workers because we get a “make up day off” next Friday as part of the Tomb Sweeping festival. But it is a dated, backward, and unproductive practice, and part of a broken labor system that demoralizes an already tired workforce, and it should be dismantled.
Demoralizing an already tired workforce
Is it completely necessary to have us work on Saturday just because of an extended weekend? I’m not in a position to do a search on this, but I know that in America such a policy would be laughed at, and other advanced countries have never adopted this either. Why would any foreign professionals want to work in such a backward labor environment?
I mean, do we have to give our employer an extra day of work for every day we take off?
Just give us a day off! What’s so hard about that? If it’s an extended holiday, what’s one more day off in the 200+ days that we work a year going to do? Is one day so important that we have to work on a weekend and sacrifice our shopping, playing, fixing the house and other chores, and precious time with our family? We all hate life right now and we are unproductive.
請讓我們存粹放假吧！這有什麼難的？ 如果這是一個連假，我們每年工作200天以上，多一天休息有什麽影響？ 一天這麼重要，我們必須在周末工作，犧牲我們的購物，玩耍，修理房子和其他家事，並且與家人在一起的寶貴時間。 我們都討厭今天來上班，而且我們今天上班沒有什麼效益。
Also, this policy isn’t good for the economy. We don’t have another day to spend our disposable income! It’s the best weather of the year right now too! If I had time I would be out and about and putting money into some tourist spot with a beach.
此外，這項政策對經濟不利。 我們沒有其他時間花我們的多餘收入！ 現在也是今年最好的天氣！ 如果我有時間，我會出去散散步，把錢放到沙灘的旅遊景點上。
And what about the seventh day Adventists? Isn’t this policy infringing on their religious liberty?
Are we actually doing anything productive now on this work makeup day? No, not at all. We are totally overworked and have nothing to look forward to, except a very distant tomb sweeping day extended weekend. Why do we give ourselves a one day weekend when some European countries are already implementing a 3 day weekend system? Are we sweatshop workers?
現在我們在這個補班日實際上是否做了一些富有成效的工作？一點也不。 我們完全過度勞累，沒有什麼值得期待的，除了一個非常遙遠的清明節週連假。 為什麼我們給自己周休一日，但是一些歐洲國家已經實施了周休三日？ 我們是血汗工廠工人嗎？
I worked in a sweatshop in China as part of an internship during the winter of 2014. It was a shoe factory. We worked every Saturday, and most of the workers only got 2 Sundays off a month. Less than two decades ago, Taiwan was in a similar situation; everyone worked at least a half day on Saturday. This might explain why they are taking so long to change their labor policy, but there is more to the story.
2014年冬季，我曾在中國的一家血汗工廠工作。這是一家鞋廠。 我們每個星期六都工作，大多數工作人員每個月只得到2個星期日的休假。 不到二十年前，台灣也處於類似情況; 每個人在星期六至少工作了半天。 這可能也是為什麼臺灣花了很長時間來改變他們的勞動政策，但這個故事還有更多細節。
A Wider Problem
Taiwan has some of the highest working hours in the world, ranking in the top 3, behind Mexico and Singapore and it’s getting worse. However Singapore has an advanced economy and workers are getting compensation 90,000 NT per month for new employees. Starting salaries in Shanghai and Shenzhen have also risen above Taiwan’s.
台灣擁有世界上第三高的工作時間，在墨西哥和新加坡的後面，情況正在惡化。 然而，新加坡經濟發達，新員工每月可獲得9萬新台幣的補償。 在上海深圳起薪也上升了台灣。
Taiwan has been giving its workers less and less days off overtime, in exchange for more “annual leave” that may or may not be used.
In 2015 2 people died every month form overwork in Taiwan, and its rising now.
The new labor standards change this year raises the weekly working hours from 46 to 54. The 2018 change to be able to work 12 days in a row is destroying the 5 day work week principle, as well as worker’s rights to rest, not to mention all the illegal work and overtime going on in Taiwan under the table.
In order to pass this bill into law, a survey was put out by the legislative yuan, not a third party. They interviewed 800 people over house phones during the day time, which would be old people and housewives, which do not have day jobs. It was reported that 66% of people don’t understand this law, and yet 57% support it, does that make any sense to you? Anyway, the government bowed to big business and immorally passed it into law.
為了將這項法案通過法律，立法院沒有用第三方進行了一項調查。 他們在白天採訪了800以上的家庭電話，這將是沒有日常工作的老年人和家庭主婦。 據報導，66％的人不了解這項法律，但有57％的人支持，這有道理嗎？ 無論如何，政府向大企業屈服，不道德地將其方案為法律。
But let’s talk about the real elephant in the room. Most Taiwanese workers cannot join unions and voice their rights as workers. In Taiwan, a company needs 30 or more employees before it can make a workers union, which is only 3% of total companies in Taiwan. For most other Asian countries, this number is less than 7. If more Taiwanese people were able to form their own unions, perhaps we wouldn’t have such backward labor laws.
讓我們來談談真正的大問題。 大多數台灣工人不能加入工會，並以工人的身份表達自己的權利。 在台灣，一家公司需要30多名員工才能組建工會，這只佔台灣公司總數的3％。 對於大多數其他亞洲國家來說，這個數字還不到7位就可以組織工會。如果更多的台灣人能夠組建自己的工會，也許我們不會有這樣落後的勞動法。
Taiwan wants to keep its competitive edge as a place with low cost of labor, but it is shooting itself in the foot. Right now, most factories are using cheap immigrant labor from Southeast Asia (that are more like bonded slaves). They should instead invest in robot technology in factories, which are more efficient and productive, and leave inhumane work for the non-humans.
台灣希望保持其競爭優勢，成為勞動力成本低廉的地方，但它卻在傷害自己。 目前，大多數工廠都在使用東南亞的廉價移民勞工（更像是奴隸）。 他們應該在機器人技術方面投資於工廠，這些工廠效率更高，生產效率更高，並且廢除非人性的工作。
Last makeup work day, I took the day off just to spite the system. But now I am here to moan complain and write a rant in my spare time at work (On a good note my boss has treated us all to some delicious milk drink for our labors this day).
Taiwan needs to give its workers back their rest days and their weekends. It also needs to lower the limit for labor unions, so that workers can fight for their rights and continue to lobby to improve the law. When this happens, Taiwan workers will be happier, more productive, and willing to stay. Otherwise, the brain drain will continue, and foreign professionals will not want to work here.
台灣需要還給員工他們的休息日和周末。 臺灣還需要降低工會的限制，以便工人可以爭取自己的權利，並繼續遊說以改善法律。 這樣的話，台灣勞工會更快樂，更富有成效，願意留下來。 否則，人才流失將繼續，外國專業人士也不會想在這里工作。
Will my complaining change the situation? I hope so. I hope to live to see the day that we can do away with this silly, self-defeating practice of cutting out our weekends just so we can take a future holiday. Until then, I will accept the Taiwan local laws as they are because I chose to be here as an expat, and I’m willing to take the good with the bad. But there’s a good chance I’ll take the day off next time.
我的抱怨會改變這個情況嗎？ 但願如此。 我希望能活下去看看我們能否取消這種愚蠢的，自我挫敗的政策。 在那之前，我會接受台灣當地的法律，因為我選擇住在這裏，而且我願意接受這些壞事。 但下次我有機會就會休假。
For those who can't read Chinese characters, the girl on the left represents "taking the day off" and the girl on the right is “work makeup day." Its a deep meme I know.
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We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.