Taiwan Has 4th Longest Average Working Hours

working hours
Laborers in Taiwan in 1940. Photo by Kuwano Wu via Wikimedia Commons

Taiwan had the fourth longest annual working hours in 2018 despite a worldwide downward trend overall, according to OECD Employment and Labour Market Statistics database and the Ministry of Labor. Taiwan’s average total annual hours of work per capita decreased by only 2 hours from the previous year.

Taiwan was behind Singapore, Mexico, and Costa Rica in the number of hours worked with 2033 hours on average, or a little more than 39 hours per week (this includes time off for national holidays and is averaged between full-time and part-time employees). Singaporeans worked the most hours with 2330 hours in the year. Taiwan was followed by South Korea with 2005 hours, which has fallen by over 200 hours in the last decade. South Korea had ranked third the previous year. Since 2008, China’s annual working hours have decreased by 122 hours while Japan has declined by 91.

However, statistics indicate that full-time salaried employees worked an average of 42.2 hours per week, ranking 12th and 1.1 hours per week less than in 2016. In 2017, part-time workers clocked 17.6 hours per week at their main job, according to Ministry of Labor statistics.

Deputy Labor Minister Lin Ming-yu (林明裕) said that while Taiwan ranks higher than its Asian peers, it has made efforts to reduce overall working hours. Taiwan has increased the minimum wage and implemented labor standards to ensure workers have rest days each week. Lin added that the government continues to reduce the number of hours worked.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) noted in August that Taiwan would raise the monthly minimum wage to NT$23,800 (US$759), with the minimum hourly wage increasing to NT$158 (from NT$150), on January 1, 2020. The increase still requires approval from the Executive Yuan. It would be the fourth wage increase since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016.

Labor groups had proposed a 5% increase in the minimum wage. Meanwhile, 84% of employers said their personnel costs would rise with the wage hike, according to a survey by 104 Job Bank. However, only 24.1% of those surveyed said it would affect recruitment.

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