Bill to boost employment of older workers clears legislature

Taipei-Employers who discriminate against employees or job applicants because of their age will soon be subject to fines after a bill aimed at boosting the employment of older workers passed the Legislative Yuan on Friday.

Under the legislation, which extends protections to a large and growing segment of Taiwan's population, employers found guilty of age discrimination would be fined between NT$300,000 (US$9,826) and NT$1.5 million.

The bill prohibits treating middle-aged and elderly job applicants and employees differently than others when recruiting or hiring workers, allocating jobs, or evaluating employee performance, or when considering promotions, salary and benefits, retirement issues or dismissal.

Middle-aged workers are defined as those aged 45-65 and elderly workers are those over 65.

People in those age groups who experience workplace age discrimination will be able to file complaints with local labor authorities, and would be protected from dismissal, transfer or other forms of retribution, according to the bill.

Beyond a fine of up to NT$1.5 million for age discrimination, employers who transfer or dismiss an employee who has filed a discrimination complaint would face fines of NT$20,000 to NT$300,000.

The new legislation also stipulates that the Ministry of Labor should publish the names of companies and their owners found guilty of discrimination and order them to make improvements within a certain period or face subsequent fines.

Aside from its punitive aspect, the bill also takes steps to encourage the employment of people age 65 or above.

It allows companies to hire elderly workers on fixed-term contracts, and would make available government subsidies to employers that hire workers who have legally retired to have them pass on their professional skills to younger employees.

Local labor authorities, meanwhile, would be required to establish elderly employment offices to provide job matching services, training opportunities and legal advice.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel