On November 29, 2018, Apple Daily editorial page that questioned about how well this ministry had protected workers' rights and interests. This is our response.
1.In 2018,Professional service fee subsidy was raised by $1,000, from $33,000 to $34,000: Based on the 2018 operational rules for subsidies for the development of social welfare, subsidy items, and the basis for subsidy for professional service fee, and taking into consideration the 2018 salary adjustments for soldiers, public servants, and teachers of at least three percent, we raised the subsidy from $33,000 to $34,000, and this is a standard of subsidy, the salary of a worker for a social welfare organization may vary according to the program.
2.Salary donated back to the employer and the complaint platform at the Ministry: The complaint and communications website for workers of social welfare organizations was launched in March 2018. So far, it has received 14 cases of complaints that encompass salary only partially paid, disputes about work hours, labor and employer disputes, and so on. These complaints were investigated by Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ministry of Labor, and local governments, and so far six cases have been investigated and closed. One case about partially paid salary. During the onsite labor inspection for this case, inspectors instructed the responsible payer to pay the salary to the worker. Three closed cases did not concern partially paid salary, and two closed cases concerned other labor and employer disputes. Ministry of Labor examined those cases and found that two cases had violated Labor Standards Act and one case had violated Labor Insurance Act. Three cases were determined by the responsible authority and fines were assessed on the violators. The examination of the cases mentioned above and the resulting actions are important achievements of this ministry and other relevant responsible government agencies working together to protect the workers' rights and interests of social welfare organizations. The complexity of the cases varied, so some cases needed more time to investigate.
To protect the workers' rights and interests, Ministry of Health and Welfare consulted with Ministry of Labor (on matters involving labor laws), special municipalities, county, and city governments, and relevant social welfare association, issued on August 24, 2018, a public letter to show “a flowchart of how to process complaints about right of labor filed by workers of social welfare organizations”, to be used as the basis for handling cases of labor complaints. The rules of Ministry of Health and Welfare for the advancement of subsidy of social welfare clearly specify that professional service fees should be actually and factually paid out, and they provide a monitoring mechanism. When a social welfare organization is found to have applied a subsidy to none-subsidized uses, this ministry may suspend the subsidy for 1 to 5 years, depending on the severity of the transgression. If an application for subsidy is untruthful or falsified, the subsidy should be returned and the subsidy should be stopped for two years.
3. Subsidy for hazardous work by social workers working for social welfare institution or association employers: According to the plan for work safety of social workers, subsidy for hazardous work is to be given to local governments and their contractors who do high- and normal-risk work. The subsidy for social workers doing normal-risk work is $1,000 per month, and it is $2,000 per month for those doing high-risk work. According to our statistics for 2018, of the social workers who received subsidies for high-risk work, 1,955 worked for government contractors, which is 46.18% of the total. This ministry reaffirms that if any social worker who has received a subsidy for hazardous work not according to the requirements, you are urged to gather specific facts and submit them to the complaint and communications website at the ministry for workers of social welfare organizations. The ministry also urges governments of special municipalities and counties (cities) to continue monitoring their contractor and subsidy recipient organizations to ensure that subsidies are given to social workers who actually do hazardous work.
4. Round-table meetings of the minister and social work associations: A roundtable between the minister of Ministry of Health and Welfare and social work associations groups was held on March 23, 2018, in which decided to put salary donated back as the top-priority issue to be resolved and to reconvene in three months to again discuss medium- to long-term issues. The second roundtable was held on July 2, meeting minutes and an excerpt of which were published on the website of the ministry’s Department of Social Assistance and Social Work under the Latest news tab for the public to refer to. This ministry continues to remain open-minded and sincere to communicate with its stakeholders.
In summary, the Ministry of Health and Welfare strives to improve professional systems for social work in order to improve the work conditions of social workers, maintain the work safety of social workers, and lower the work risk. It will also continue to require employers to follow labor and personnel laws and regulations, budget for and pay out personnel costs, and follow labor laws and regulations in order to stop salary donated backs and ensure the quality of services to the disadvantaged.
Data source: Department of Social Assistance and Social Work