Extent of Protection
The Reform Act amended the Part-Time/Fixed-Term Employment Act and the Worker Dispatch Act, which came into effect in April 2020, has introduced the requirement for workers to receive fair and equal treatment, irrespective of their job status. Furthermore, the Act prohibits any irrational disparity between ‘regular’ and ‘non-regular’ employees.
With regards to part-time/fixed-term employees, an employer is prohibited from differentiating the base salary, bonus and other benefits, in such a manner that there exists an unreasonable difference between part-time/fixed-term employees and regular employees. The reasonableness is determined based on: (i) the content of the assignments and the level of responsibility thereof; (ii) the scope of possible changes of such duties and the position; and (iii) other relevant factors, as may be deemed appropriate in light of the nature of such treatment.
An employer is prohibited from discriminating against part-time/fixed-term employees, as compared to regular employees, with regards to their duties and their positions, for the sole reason of being categorised as part-time/fixed-term employees. An employer is required to provide opportunities to utilise welfare facilities that are available to its regular employees, and designated under the government ordinance, to its part-time/fixed-term employees. An employer is obliged to explain to its part-time/fixed-term employees the contents and reasons for any differential treatment compared to its regular employees. An employer is further prohibited from any disadvantageous treatment of an employee who requests such an explanation.
With regards to dispatch employees, the dispatching company is obliged to ensure the equal or balanced treatment of dispatched workers, wherein the non-dispatched workers are treated equally or as a result of satisfying the requisite conditions, affording fair and equal treatment protections, in accordance with the provisions established under a labour-management agreement. The dispatching company is obliged to explain to the dispatch employees the contents of treatment and working conditions at the time of hiring and the commencement of the dispatch. Furthermore, the dispatching company is also required to explain to the dispatch employees the contents and reasons for differential treatment with the equivalent employees at the recipient company. The dispatching company is further prohibited from any disadvantageous treatment of an employee who requests such an explanation.
The guidelines corresponding to the amended Act, set out the basic criteria for salaries and benefits, education, training and welfare entitlements, together with concrete examples of reasonable and unreasonable treatment, differentiating between regular and non-regular employees.