Eiger – Remote Work in Taiwan: What Businesses Need to Know
by: Heather HSIAO, Michael WERNER, Joy LIN and David ROSENTHAL
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting virtually every business on the planet in one way or another. In Taiwan, the outbreak has seemingly been contained. Nevertheless, businesses are taking precautions in order to prevent a mass outbreak and ensure their employees’ safety. One popular measure businesses have been taking is to ask their employees to work from home or from off-site locations. Such steps may prove effective as social-distancing measures and are especially important for high-risk employees, such as those with underlying health conditions. However, there are a number of challenges when implementing remote work policies.
Introducing Remote Work to Employees
Generally, there are two ways for remote work measures to be introduced. Firstly, the employer can mutually agree on remote work with the employee by means of an employment contract addendum for the duration of the pandemic. Alternatively, the employer can unilaterally decide on remote work by means of a transfer notice. However, this transfer notice must comply with the five principles set forth in Article 10-1 of the Labor Standards Act. Importantly, the new wages and other working conditions may not be less favorable for the transferred employee. This will be especially relevant when introducing offsite work that results in longer commutes for the employee. In addition to that, when employees work from home, it is recommended that employers ensure that their employees’ home workstations are comparable to those at the office. This may require employers to provide additional technical assistance or equipment to their employees but it is in the business’ interest in order to maintain productivity during the pandemic. Introducing remote work has the legal effect of assigning the employee to a new place of work. This also means that the area in which an accident would be considered a so-called occupational accident is expanded to cover the employee’s new place of work. For employees working from home, this means accidents occurring at home may be considered occupational accidents. Employers are required by law to take reasonable preventive measures against such accidents. Therefore, it is recommended for employers to ensure that their employee’s workspace at home is safe, for example by engaging in an open dialogue with the employee and providing necessary protective equipment.
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