Taiwan to reduce maximum work hours for flight attendants

Taipei-- The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said Monday that it will implement revised regulations later this year to improve working conditions for flight attendants on carriers registered in Taiwan, starting with a cut in the maximum number of work hours.

Under the revised Aircraft Flight Operation Regulations, the maximum number of work hours for flight attendants will be reduced from 210 over a 30-day period to 190 over 28 days, the CAA said.

It said the 190 hours will include time spent in meetings and training courses, breaks during flights, and waiting time on the ground between flights.

In addition, the new regulations will not allow flight attendant to work on three consecutive red eye flights -- those that depart after midnight -- as such flights usually affect the biological clock, the CAA said.

The revisions were already in progress when China Airlines' (CAL) flight attendants went on strike last June over working conditions, according to the CAA.

The strike cost CAL about NT$550 million (US$17.74 million) in losses after it was forced to cancel 122 flights.

The CAA subsequently held eight forums with airline workers unions to discuss how to improve working conditions for flight attendants and address the issue of exhaustion due to long work hours.

During the forums, the unions rejected a proposal to allow any negotiations between airlines and their flight attendants on work hours, the CAA said.

When the revised rules are implemented, Taiwan will be among the top three countries worldwide in terms of regulations that favor flight attendants, the CAA said.

It noted that the new rules will go beyond Taiwan's Labor Standards Act, which stipulates that employees are not permitted to work more than 230 hours over a 30-day period.

Last year, the CAA said, it issued eight fines for overwork of flight attendants, five of which were against CAL for a total of NT$900,000.

The other fines were against Mandarin Airlines, which is a CAL subsidiary, and UNI Airways, a subsidiary of of EVA Airways, the CAA said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel