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Labor Law Revisions

More Paid Leave Brings Greater Personal Flexibility

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More Paid Leave Brings Greater Personal Flexibility

Source:Chieh-Ying Chiu

Software Engineer Huang Pei-en appreciates the paid annual leave that comes with the revised Labor Standards Act, but misses the seven national holidays he used to enjoy.

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2008

More Paid Leave Brings Greater Personal Flexibility

By Rebecca Lin
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 616 )

I am a software engineer in charge of developing apps. We mainly cooperate with the food & beverage and hospitality industries to assist them in finding more convenient solutions than collecting loyalty points on paper cards. With an app, consumers only need to have a mobile phone to use the loyalty points, so they don’t need to worry about cards that went missing or cards they forgot to bring.

I worked for an IT company in Taipei for two years until moving back to Kaohsiung half a year ago. The regular work hours at our company are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but when you come in late you make up that time on your own initiative until you have worked eight hours.

Aside from developing apps, my main work also includes providing certain functions for cooperating stores, such as analyzing customer age groups, finding out which people need loyalty cards, and adding payment functions to enable consumers to pay via the app in the store.

Designated Responsibility Means Flexibility

As I see it, software engineers should work under a designated responsibility system* that allows them to manage [their work] themselves. Even if the boss demands that a job be completed within a deadline, we will first consult with each other to determine how much time is needed to get the job done. If there is very little time, we decide which functions can be prioritized and which need to be postponed.

Generally, we are used to somewhat greater flexibility. The engineers themselves decide whether the timeframe needs to be longer or shorter. If your estimated time is too short because you are inexperienced, then you need to work overtime. If your estimate is longer than usual, it depends on whether the boss can accept this.

Busy Times Don’t Mean Overtime

Once in a while, we have an emergency, such as when we need to quickly develop certain app functions to keep pace with client campaigns or because a software bug needs to be fixed. In that case, I will stop working on the task at hand to deal with the emergency, but not to the extent that I would have to work overtime. I think this is related to one’s individual work ability; you need to be able to distinguish between important and less important tasks, as well as between jobs that are urgent and those that aren’t. In principle I don’t take work home with me because it’s not good if work affects your private life.

This is a new creative team. Although we are workers, we are also startup cooperation partners as we decide the company’s future together with the boss, and also participate in the corporate development process. I like this job very much, or else I would not spend an hour commuting by motorbike from Gangshan every day.

Our company had a five-day workweek in the first place and used to grant paid leave on all 19 national holidays too. After the implementation of the new work rules of a standardized five-day workweek, the biggest impact for us is that we will get seven fewer national holidays…that’s a pity.

But there is also an advantage, because we’ve gained paid annual leave days. Originally, we had only seven days of paid annual leave after having served one year [for the same employer or business], whereas now we get three days of paid annual leave after six months of service, which makes us quite happy, particularly because you can decide on your own when you want to take these leave days. This offers more flexibility, and you can freely use your leave for outings with your girlfriend.

* In Taiwan, certain jobs or positions are not subject to labor laws covering work hours and overtime and fall under what’s known as a “designated responsibility system.” 

Translated from the Chinese by Susanne Ganz


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