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Asia-Pacific employment law bulletin 2024


Expanded protections against sexual harassment in the workplace

Taiwan amended its Gender Equality in Employment Act (the Act) to expand the scope of protections against workplace sexual harassment and to impose harsher penalties for violations, following a wave of #MeToo allegations in 2023. The new provisions, of which most came into force on 18 August 2023 (with some effective since 8 March 2024), include the following amendments:

  • Scope: Clarification of the scope of workplace sexual harassment incidents, so that it now includes situations where employees experience sexual harassment during non-working hours.
  • Application: Employers with 10 or more employees are now also subject to the Act’s requirement, whereas previously only employers with more than 30 employees were covered by the Act. These employers are required to establish measures for the prevention of sexual harassment, complaint procedures, and disciplinary actions, and to publicise them in the workplace. Employers are also now required to establish reporting channels for sexual harassment complaints, which must also be publicised.
  • Definition of patterns of power-based sexual harassment: When a complaint of sexual harassment involves an accused harasser in a position of power, the employer may temporarily suspend or adjust the duties of the accused if necessary for the investigation. In cases where a complaint of sexual harassment is investigated by the employer or local competent authority, and such complaint is determined to be justified and severe, the amendment provides that the employer may terminate the harasser’s employment contract without advance notice within 30 days of becoming aware of the investigation results.
  • Situations where the employer becomes aware of a sexual harassment incident despite no complaint having been filed: The employer must take corrective and remedial actions in such situations, such as assisting the victim in filing a complaint if they so wish, and making reasonable adjustments to the workplace.
  • Reporting channels: Employees who experience sexual harassment should generally file a complaint with their employer. However, when the alleged harasser is the highest authority or employer, the Act provides that the victim may bypass the employer and instead file a complaint directly with the local competent authority. During the investigation by the local competent authority, the victim may apply for an adjustment of duties or work arrangements, and the employer must accommodate the request.

Adoption of Minimum Wage Act

On 12 December 2023, the Minimum Wage Act (MWA) was passed, replacing the existing system of basic wage review and determining the annual increase in the minimum wage for workers.

Under the MWA, the Ministry of Labour will establish a Minimum Wage Review Committee to regularly review whether the minimum wage should be adjusted, using the consumer price index as a benchmark. The new law also establishes a research group and specifies that wages agreed upon by both employers and employees shall not be lower than the minimum wage. Violators may be fined up to TWD 1,500,000 (approximately USD 48,000), depending on factors such as the size of the business, the number of violations, and the severity of the violation.

LCS & Partners: Yu Kai-Hua