The rights of pregnant migrant workers in Taiwan are still forgotten – Grace Huang/Catta Yu-Hsuan Chou

Author: Grace Huang, Secretary-General, Domestic Caretaker Union
Translated by Catta Yu-Hsuan Chou, EAYAN Program Participant

[See below for the original]

If a migrant caregiver is pregnant, can she continue her work? Can she deliver the child in Taiwan? Can she enjoy the pregnancy-checkup leave and maternity leave? The above answers are all “yes,” but in fact, very few migrant caregivers can use their rights regarding maternity leaves in Taiwan.

Like all Taiwanese workers, migrant caregivers are applicable to the Act of Gender Equality in Employment. They can enjoy 5 days of pregnancy-checkup leave before delivery and 8 weeks of maternity leave before and after delivery. If they have a miscarriage or choose to have an abortion, they are also entitled to have a five days to four weeks of leave. If an employer unilaterally dismisses a pregnant caregiver, he/she will be fined ranging from NTD 300,000 to 1.5 million for violating the law.

The law seems to have adequate protection to pregnant female workers. However, migrant caretakers still suffer from pressure from the employer and his/her family. Migrant workers might sign a paper to terminate the contract and/or even agree to return to their home country voluntarily which make them lose their right to work in Taiwan. The Ministry of Labor recently released an explanation document saying that pregnant migrant workers may extend the working permission expiration date after their delivery for two months during the previous contract termination and transferring employers, if they cannot find a new job during pregnancy.

It seems that the explanation document from the Ministry of Labor relieves the pressure of deportation for migrant workers. However, there is still no protection for the working rights of pregnant migrant workers. An unemployed pregnant migrant worker does not have any income and has nowhere to stay. At the same time, they do not have the support from their family members (because they are too far away). They might have difficulties to go through the pregnancy period of time without support. They might have difficulties to prepare the supplies for the newborn. Some migrant caretakers have a slightly better employer and slightly better working situation that they can have 8 weeks of maternity leave. But this is totally not enough. Since caretakers are not subject to the Labor Standard Law, their employers are not obliged to pay wages during the leave.

In addition, whether migrant workers give birth in their hometown or in Taiwan, they

have only 8 weeks of maternity leave to plan for the placement of the newborn. In addition, according to the airline company notice, pregnant women with more than 28 to 32 weeks cannot be on board. Obviously, a 8-week maternity leave is far from sufficient for migrant workers. From pregnancy, childbirth to childcare, it is a very challenging process for migrant caretakers. This is because they not only live with the employer family, but also work for 24 hours a day. On the other hand, the employer families usually have intensive long-term care needs. How to balance the rights of migrant workers and the rights of dependent (the one who is being take care of) has become an issue.

Under the one-on-one care model, a migrant worker become pregnant meaning that the employer has to spend more money to maintain the quality of care. The current long-term care policy in Taiwan excludes the support subsidy for families with migrant workers. Without the support of public resources, the disadvantaged family are more likely to fall into a vulnerable situation.

亟待改善的在臺懷孕移工權益

桃園市家庭看護工職業工會 秘書長

在職家庭看護移工若是懷孕,是否可以繼續工作?可否在台灣生產?是否享有產檢假及產假?以上答案皆為「是」,但實際上能夠在台灣使用產假生育休養的家庭看護移工少之又少。

與所有本地勞工一樣,家庭看護移工適用《性別工作平等法》,因此可以在產前享有5日的產檢假,生產前後享有8周的產假,若流產或選擇墮胎,亦依照妊娠周數享有5日至4星期不等的流產假。如果雇主以懷孕為由片面解雇看護,就會以違反性工法遭政府裁處30萬元以上150萬元以下的罰鍰。

法令看似對懷孕女工有足夠的保護,但懷孕的家庭看護移工仍然會遭受到許多來自雇主家庭施加的壓力,因而簽下合意終止契約,甚至自願回國的文件,喪失工作權。 勞動部日前以函釋表達立場,懷孕移工若與雇主解約進入轉換雇主的階段,由於難以在孕期間獲得其他就業機會,可以申請將轉換雇主的程序暫停,待產後2個月再重啟轉換雇主程序。

勞動部此舉,僅是舒緩了移工面對離境期限的壓力,但對於懷孕移工的工作權仍然沒有保障。試想,失業的懷孕移工不但沒有收入,在台灣無家可歸,更缺乏家人的支持,如何順利度過孕期?如何準備新生兒所需物資? 少數保有工作的家庭看護移工,處境也只有稍微好一些,由於家庭看護工不適用勞動基準法,儘管享有8周的產假,雇主卻沒有給付薪水的義務。

此外,在職移工不論是返鄉生產或是在台灣生產,都會受限於產假只有8周而使生產及新生兒安置計劃非常窘迫,不是胎兒周數過大的孕婦,或是未足月的新生兒,都是航空公司拒絕載運的對象。顯見8周的產假,對於移工來說,是遠遠不足的。 從懷孕、生產到育兒,對於24小時住家制工作的家庭看護移工而言,是十分艱鉅的挑戰。另一方面,由於台灣的家庭看護移工雇主,都是有長照需求的家庭,如何兼顧被照顧人的權益和看護移工的勞動權益,就成為不得不面對的課題。

在一對一的照顧模式下,家庭看護移工懷孕了,可能意味著雇主必須花費更多成本以維持照顧品質,而現行的長期照顧政策,將看護移工雇主排除在服務的補助之外。缺乏公共資源的支持,經濟越弱勢的長照家庭,也越容易落入與家庭看護弱弱相殘的處境

 

 

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