Taiwan recently revised its Labor Standards Act to protect workers interests, but some see it as far too restrictive and lacking in flexibility as businesses reinvent themselves to cope with the arrival of the knowledge economy era.
Faced with criticism over the introduction of a new workweek system under the revised Labor Standards Act, Hsieh Chien-chien, Director of Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment in the Ministry of Labor, says the aim of the amendment was to create a legal basis for a five-day workweek for all. Following are the excerpts from our interview:
President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration is having a hard time satisfying socie-ty’s expectations. The voices of middle-aged people, residents of remote areas, and those demanding educational reforms must be heard.
The CommonWealth Magazine 2017 State of the Nation Survey identified a major generational divide in Taiwan on a wide range of issues. There was agreement on only one point, the need for economic transformation.
The subtle shift in public opinion with 39 years of age as a point of demarcation reflects the reality of divides and frictions developing between the generations on issues large and small. How should Taiwan proceed in the face of this generational divide?
In the course of its first year in office, Tsai Ing-wen’s administration has barely gotten reforms rolling, only to face ire at every turn. Yet for Tsai there is no turning back, making for a bumpy ride ahead in 2017.
Thousands of Taiwanese factories are operating illegally on land zoned for agricultural use. In many cases, they want to become legal but have found few options for doing so, in part because of land speculation and mismanagement. Is there any hope to solve this problem?
Taiwan’s rapidly aging population has made its different pension systems – especially that for public employees – unsustainable. The stakes are high as the country tackles pension reform, and we look at the possible directions the initiative might take.
CommonWealth Magazine’s latest City Happiness Survey has found that residents’ trust in their local leader may go a lot further in promoting a sense of “well-being” than a community’s resources and infrastructure or tangible initiatives.
As the leaders of Taiwan’s 22 cities and counties near the second half of their four-year terms, their approval ratings have taken some unexpected turns. Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te lost his crown, while the chief executives of two offshore counties grabbed ranks 1 and 2, and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je came in second to last.
One-fifth of the antibiotic-resistant germs transmitted to humans come from animals or food, making farms critical firewalls against their spread. Showing farmers new concepts and know-how, the Yunnan-Chiayi-Tainan Animal Disease Diagnosis Center’s assistance encompasses pig feed, diagnosis, medicine administration, and animal health monitoring.
At National Yang-Ming University Hospital, physician Chang Yea-yuan has been spearheading the fight against the overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics that has led to the emergence of multidrug-resistant microbes.
Taiwan’s “Big Six” special municipalities have now taken shape, soaking up resources and people, and extending the gap between cities and towns. Not only improving its ranking across five categories to claim first place, Taipei displaced Taichung City as the top destination for “domestic migration.”
Audrey Tang will soon become Taiwan’s youngest Cabinet minister when she starts as minister without portfolio on Oct. 1 to lead open government initiatives. Describing herself as a “connector,” she is uniquely qualified to play this role. Here’s her story.
Taiwan is facing many challenges, including a shortage of trust in some key institutions. CommonWealth Magazine’s “Social Trust Survey” reveals the public’s greatest concerns and provides the new government a roadmap for change.
How did Lin Chuan, the son of mainlanders who grew up in military dependents’ villages, gain President-elect Tsai Ing-wen’s trust? In a new era marked by de facto majority rule and full accountability for the DPP, what challenges await him?
Majority control of Taiwan’s Legislature changed for the first time this year with the victory of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in January, opening the door to sweeping reform. Newly elected Speaker Su Jia-chyuan, a veteran DPP politician, has pledged to end the practice of closed-door negotiations.
The 2016 elections seem to represent a significant shift away from traditional patterns of Taiwan party politics. Cross-strait issues played a much smaller role than in the past. Moving toward a more normal left-right politics is a positive development in Taiwan politics.
For the first time in Taiwan’s history, the country’s legislature will not be controlled by KMT-led “pan-blue” forces. People will be watching to see if the change in power will unleash reforms and lead to an era of greater efficiency and less partisanship.
The New Power Party, founded by social activists, has become the third-largest party in Taiwan’s Legislature. The capacity of these political neophytes to exercise oversight will soon be put to the test.
After a landslide victory, Tsai Ing-wen will become the first female president in the Chinese-speaking world. Though her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has gained control of the Legislature for the first time, Tsai has a difficult job on her hands even before she takes office on May 20.
Taiwan will be holding its sixth direct presidential election in history on Jan. 16. People First Party Chairman James Soong has participated in four of them. He says Taiwan is facing a crisis of leadership, and he’s the right person to fill the bill.
Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Eric Chu has had a stellar political career. Yet in the upcoming presidential elections, he is predicted to lose to DPP challenger Tsai Ing-wen. Critics say Chu over-thought his strategy and threw his hat in the ring when it was too late.
Nimble campaign tactics, ambiguous cross-strait discourse, and a strong Taiwanese consciousness are the hallmarks of Tsai Ing-wen’s campaign. The daughter of a successful businessman, she has overseen her party’s rebirth and seeks to renew Taiwan’s socio-political and economic structure.
In Chiayi County, the scions of two political families are pitched against each other. One is a political newbie, the other a seasoned street protestor, and they will have to prove that they are not puppets but able to pull a few strings themselves.
Having lost a by-election to him five years ago by over 6,000 votes, DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) is now again taking on Wang Ting-sheng (王廷升), son of a former Hualien Magistrate, for a single seat in the legislature.
Of the 356 candidates vying for directly elected legislative seats in Taiwan’s fast-approaching elections, 63 are from political families and 40 are the children of former politicians. Will they change the face of hereditary politics in the country?
From cross-strait relations to the parliament and party politics, ripples will course through the political scene in Taiwan beginning on January 16, 2016. How the new leadership and citizenry respond will determine how the volatility plays out.
Developing apps, wearable devices or electric vehicles - what sounds like Silicon Valley startup preoccupations is everyday school life at China’s Tsinghua University High School, where high schoolers have access to the top-notch facilities and faculty of the prestigious Tsinghua University.
In CommonWealth Magazine’s survey of people in Taiwan’s 22 cities and counties, many local leaders, including those considered stars, saw their satisfaction ratings fall below expectations, but some newcomers made big jumps.
While foreign media and experts heap praise on Taiwan's "utopian" 20-year-old national health insurance system, many in the island's medical profession lambast it as a "sweatshop system." A former health minister expresses strong opinions about the system's ills.
When a disaster occurs in Taiwan, medical workers respond with passion. But once the adrenaline wears off, they face an even more real challenge – a flawed health insurance system – that is leading to shortages in critical medical fields.
The huge crush of burn victims from the Formosa Fun Coast disaster has exposed long-existing problems in Taiwan's national health insurance system. Can the incident prompt reforms that make the lives of overworked medical professionals a little easier?
Taiwan's national health insurance system is lauded as one of the world's most effective, but it faults were recently exposed after a water park disaster. National Health Insurance Administration deputy chief Tsai Shu-ling admits reforms are needed but warns that there are no perfect solutions.
Her emergence as the Kuomintang's prospective presidential candidate may have been the product of unusual circumstances, but "Little Hot Pepper" Hung Hsiu-chu is ready to wage a vigorous campaign against heavy favorite Tsai Ing-wen.
Dang thi phuong lan, who is preparing to return to her native Vietnam after working for the same family for eleven years, recalls the highs and lows of her time in Taiwan, and how she came to see it as her home away from home.
For many, the changing face of Taiwan's families can make family reunions over the Lunar New Year holiday difficult. But in this changing world, it may be finally time to let go of entrenched beliefs and accept people for who they are.
In Germany, real estate is an essential good. In Taiwan, it's a means to get rich and will likely stay that way as long as the cost of owning property remains negligible. Without tax reform, housing justice in Taiwan will be hard to come by.
Public support for Taiwan's Legislative Yuan is below 10 percent because of incessant partisan wrangling and the body's lack of efficiency. How much is Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng to blame and what does the future hold?
Older people swore it couldn't work, but for the team at 1987 Studio, opportunity was right there before them, and they are determined to pave a new way in filmmaking for themselves and their young peers.
CommonWealth Magazine's latest State of the Nation Survey found ongoing dismay with partisan wrangling at home but decidedly mixed attitudes toward China, even in the wake of social movements portraying Beijing as a villain.
Taiwan's Nov. 29 local elections in the books, Taiwan is already gearing up for national elections in early 2016. In the run-up, the country's major parties will likely square off over constitutional reform and resource allocation.
Why stumble, if not in order to get back up? The Kuomintang cannot afford dejection or hesitation, and must recognize and learn from mistakes. From the grass roots to the party power core,, how can the loose, sluggish party machine recover its might?
Few trials in life are more difficult than saying goodbye to a loved one. Oftentimes a prolonged illness devoid of hope for a turnaround is harder on the living than the dying, and when nature gains the upper hand, not knowing when to let go only results in lasting regret.
A CommonWealth national survey on attitudes toward end-of-life medical treatment lays bare the struggle between choosing a good way to die for oneself on the one hand and being unable to let go of family members on the other.
Why do terminally ill, dying patients receive futile medical treatment that often prolongs their suffering? CommonWealth Magazine and the non-profit 393.citizen.com surveyed Taiwan's critical care specialists to get the answer.
The cities of Taipei and Hsinchu are the most competitive in Taiwan but that competitiveness did not translate into a sense of well-being, according to CommonWealth Magazine's 2014 City Happiness Survey.
As the year-end elections loom large in Taiwan, the chief executives of the island’s 22 cities and counties are battling to retain office, yet 40 percent have suffered a drop in their popularity. CommonWealth holds their scorecards up for readers to judge.
The gas explosions that jolted Kaohsiung were the product of long-term neglect of public safety. They pose a series of huge challenges to governance at the central and local level that will be hard to overcome.
Squeezed between the demands of their jobs and the demands of taking care of aging parents, many middle-aged Taiwanese workers are desperate for a sound long-term care system that has yet to materialize.
Taiwan's rich-poor divide is at an all-time high, with the top 1 percent of income earners enjoying most of the gains of economic growth. The situation is unlikely to change unless Taiwan overhauls its outdated tax system.
Popular pressure has forced Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant to be put on hold. CommonWealth Magazine's latest survey looks more closely at what the public was thinking and if it is ready for the consequences.
The sight of students storming government buildings shocked many Taiwanese. Where did all these angry young people come from? To understand their outrage, we must look at Taiwan from their perspective.
By trampling on the legislature and forcibly hindering democratically elected lawmakers from rightly exercising their constitutional authority, a minority of protesting students is doing Taiwanese democracy no favor.
How can Taiwan find a solution for cross-strait contacts that guarantees economic benefits, democracy and national security? Here are three steps Taiwan needs to take to rebuild the public's trust in the government.
CommonWealth Magazine's latest State of the Nation survey found a breakdown in confidence in Taiwan's government, dismay over the country's rich-poor divide, and a desire to not be so economically dependent on China.
Only 40 percent of Taiwan's top executives are optimistic about economic prospects in 2014, yet 70 percent are preparing to increase wages. CEOs nearly unanimously favor free trade agreements, but remain bearish on investment.
Taichung has emerged as the place where most Taiwanese would like to live, pushing aside Taipei. While the capital is still seen as the island's most representative city, its glitter generates less happiness than its country cousins.
With the bold ambition of becoming a "city of reading," Kaohsiung is pooling the resources of its 61 public libraries, making millions of books available to its schools. Throughout Taiwan, cities are raising competiveness by elevating culture, and the answer lies in books.
Taiwan's top five mayors stand the greatest chance of rising to political supremacy. But first they must win the enigmatic hearts of the younger generation. A new CommonWealth survey shows how they're stacking up.
She is known as the top female CEO in Taiwan’s machinery industry, building Hiwin Technologies into the world’s No. 2 precision components maker without a technical background. So what skills does she bring to the table?
Food education is becoming the new foundation for moral and mental growth. When children appreciate what they eat, they also learn to care for others, cherish the earth and understand the value of life.
CommonWealth Magazine's New "Good Cuisine" Movement is off and running, calling on everyone to take the "40-mission" low-carbon diet challenge, to eat with greater value, conscience and environmental consciousness.
Cho Po-yuan enjoys one of the highest voter support rates of any KMT mayor or county executive. As one of the new generation of KMT leaders, how is Cho getting his constituents to sense his passion for public administration?
What does well-being taste like? The residents of Yilan seem to know. More than 90 percent of people living there say they are happy. What has their chief executive done to make them feel so satisfied?
Taiwan's highest public approval ratings belong to newcomers. But will they be able to meet expectations? And what do the rankings reveal about the state of Taiwan's democracy and the island's political landscape?
What places in Taiwan are mostly likely to foster the greatest sense of well-being? CommonWealth Magazine's latest survey of happiness throughout Taiwan's cities and counties reveals that living the good life has little to do with material standards.
He jets around the globe, prying the world's markets open for American beef, and numerous heads of state pay him heed. Who is this "commander-in-chief of U.S. beef" at the center of the maelstrom enveloping Taiwan?
Avian Flu, Leanness Enhancing Drugs – Taiwan is erupting with food scandals, and current controls seem incapable of stemming the tide. Who actually is responsible for the meat that ends up on Taiwanese plates?
In Taiwan salaries have hit rock bottom, and economic transformation has stalled. But while it is taking up the rear in the march of the Four Little Dragons, Taiwan remains Asia's champion in terms of diversity, freedom and democracy.
While mostly pessimistic about the coming year, Taiwan's top executives strongly back President Ma Ying-jeou's policies on China and the economy. Yet a divergence of viewpoints exists between CEOs and the general public.
CommonWealth Magazine's civic education survey found that Taiwan's Internet-savvy teens strongly support equal rights but have confused core values that could complicate a push toward "digital citizenship."
Some cities with the conditions most conducive to well-being give their mayors mediocre ratings, while those in less favorable areas are the most content. What do local leaders need to do to achieve a hike in happiness?
Just having a recognizable name no longer guarantees political popularity. As this year's Local Leader Approval Survey reveals, the secret to success is balancing the public's aspirations with sustainable local development.
Traveling the length of gently curving Provincial Highway No. 1, CommonWealth Magazine witnesses the rising vitality of grassroots Taiwan, and discovers seven traits that enable countless Taiwanese to prevail.
Three years ago, the Control Yuan submitted proposals to reform Taiwan's food safety oversight system, but as the recent DEHP scandal shows, the government failed to act. Who is to be held accountable?
After four major fires, Yunlin County magistrate Su Chih-Fen has axed operations at the Formosa Plastics Group's sixth naphtha cracker. As Taiwan begins to take occupational safety seriously, can the petrochemical industry survive?
Responding to the headlines about employee protests, suicides and deaths from overwork, some proactive Taiwanese enterprises have gotten the message that the well-being of workers is crucial for company health.
In Taipei real estate prices have gone through the roof. But now several new social housing projects are to be built to give Taiwan's "ant tribe" an affordable place to live. What are the possible pitfalls?
Connected through marriage, Taiwan's ten richest clans have accumulated more than NT$6 trillion, about one quarter of the Taiex's market value. But how do their machinations affect ordinary people's lives?
Mayoral elections in Taiwan's five new special municipalities in late November produced mixed results, with neither major party gaining a decisive edge. In the run-up to 2012 presidential elections, both sides must deal with thorny issues.
In a series of exclusive interviews, the candidates for mayor of Taipei City, Xinbei City and Kaohsiung City present their plans for governance after the reshuffling of Taiwan's administrative districts.
This year Taiwanese citizens are ready for change. Approval of local chief executives from the opposition party has risen, while ruling party approval is on the skids. Why is Taiwan’s "blue camp" singing the blues across the island?
Some are greeting Taiwan's new districting system with joy, others with pessimism. How can Taiwan's five new top-tier cities truly leap onto the international stage? And how can Taiwan narrow the gap between city and countryside?
When they take effect next year, strict new stipulations will put virtually everyone in Taiwan at risk of unknowingly breaching the Personal Data Protection Act, with possible fines of up to NT$200 million.
In stark contrast to the opulence of Taichung's newly developed Zone Seven, the city's dilapidated and empty central district is like another world. The alliance of government and commerce has become a zero-risk game of wealth redistribution.
Taiwan's new Statute for Industrial Innovation slashes Taiwan's corporate income tax rate to the lowest level worldwide. But these tax cuts will blow a gaping hole in state finances, due to lost tax revenues of at least NT$138 billion.
Taiwan has the lowest birthrate in the world, and an aging population. At least 1.5 million births are needed in the coming five years to boost the birthrate. Who is going to have these 1.5 million babies? And who can afford them?
The right gift at the right time can help forge closer personal relationships, smoothen business ties, and even change a person's life. How can we choose gifts that adequately convey our intentions and also please the recipient?
After a tumultuous 2009, what do Taiwan's people think about the state of affairs in their country? CommonWealth Magazine found many remain worried about the rich-poor divide and overdependence on China.
Taiwan once saw the world as the United States, but now all it sees is China, and forging a cross-strait economic agreement is the entirety of its current trade policy. Could Taiwan become another Hong Kong?
Taiwan's work ethic has underpinned strong GDP growth, but life hasn't gotten much better for ordinary Taiwanese people in the past decade. What is it that this major economic indicator is not telling us?
Penghu Island, long a popular destination for local travelers, has set its sights on loftier goals – attracting well-healed international tourists with five-star resort hotels and casinos. But can Penghu realize its grand designs?
In 2009, city and county chiefs face pressure to perform, and urban areas claim a higher quality of life than their country counterparts. In this year’s Happiness Survey, which localities have risen, and which are on the slide?
China's influence is growing pervasive, and more than 70 percent of Taiwanese people are worried that further exchanges will compromise Taiwan's sovereignty. What is the source of this fear, and how should it be confronted?
Once seen as a disease-ridden tropical island, Taiwan won international kudos for eradicating malaria and other parasitic infections. And its national health insurance system has ushered in a new age of "fair, universal" public health.
Under his leadership, authoritarian rule reached a crescendo, and also came to an end. Over a 200-day period in 1986, Chiang Ching-kuo permitted an organized opposition to form and set the stage for Taiwan's democracy.
Over the past 60 years, Taiwan has managed to form a vibrant, yet fragile, democracy. Beset with carnival-style electioneering and pork-barrel politics, where is Taiwan, the Chinese-speaking world's laboratory for democracy, headed?
Will the construction of a gambling casino on Penghu really vault these beautiful islands into the international arena? Hard-up Penghu islanders may pass a referendum on gaming, but regulation will be the key to whether it takes off.
More and more Taiwanese who have lost their city jobs are returning to their hometowns in the countryside, ready to sweep streets or perform at local temples for meager pay. Will these unfortunate returnees be able to make a new start?
Up to 20 percent of Taiwan's work force is part-time or temp, and more vulnerable than ever in the current recession. Can the government help them? And can they do anything to improve their own competitiveness?
C.V. Chen, the managing partner of prominent Taiwanese law firm Lee and Li, says the government needs stronger in-house legal counsel to guide public officials in making decisions, and Taiwan's legal culture needs an overhaul.
Saddled with accusations of malfeasance in a major financial crime scandal, former finance minister Lin Chuan argues that if hardworking bureaucrats must shoulder the blame for systemic problems, good people will flee the civil service.
Once a board member of Philips Electronics Taiwan, Y.C. Luo is now scrounging for cash to survive, after his assets were provisionally seized, an action that casts doubt on a legal system that may be guilty of overkill.
Taiwan's citizens are less confident in the future than at any time in the past 12 years, uncertain that their government's NT$500 billion stimulus package will generate jobs and unclear over where closer ties with China will lead.
The global economic tsunami has washed away capitalism's prosperous heyday, leaving individuals, companies and governments, including Taiwan's, wondering what values and directions to embrace for the future.
Sandwiched between the economic powerhouses of metropolitan Taipei and Hsinchu and initially regarded as having few prospects, once listless Taoyuan has become a place where more and more people live and work in contentment.
For an Asian nation, Taiwan has typical tax rates, but rock-bottom revenues. With myriad loopholes hollowing out the national treasury, how will Taiwan repair its bridges, educate it kids or fund health care? Just who is stealing the future?
The public outrage over former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian's alleged overseas money-laundering is yielding efforts to shore up Taiwan's sunshine laws. But are the two major political parties serious?
High oil prices and food shortages are suddenly making globalization seem less than invincible. As local economies regain the initiative, can Taiwan's land and farm policies keep pace with the modern era?
A new storm of "Mainland Fever" is brewing in Taiwan, as the election of Ma Ying-jeou heralds a grand opening of relations. But what will the pace and the paradigm of this opening be? And how can Taiwan keep a cool head?
When President-elect Ma Ying-jeou takes power on May 20, he will face major challenges-global inflation, U.S. economic recession and higher expectations for Taiwan-China relations. What concrete steps should he take?