14 March 2023
The National Federation of Education Unions has urged the Ministry of Education to work with local governments or propose bills to allow educators to take unused days off within two years instead of one, and to create a fair working environment.
The call came last week after the government updated regulations to give civil servants a two-year “grace period” to use accumulated time off starting on Jan. 1.
The union said that the change created an unfair situation in which school administrators would have a two-year grace period to use their days off, but teachers would only have one year.
Over the past few decades, schools have offered teachers extra days off instead of paid overtime, but teachers have been unable to use many of these days for overtime unrelated to education, such as for elections, COVID-19 prevention efforts, county events and competitions, it said.
Many of the extra days off are unused and are eliminated at the end of the year, leaving teachers with nothing for their efforts, it said.
The ministry is reluctant to draft bills that would grant teachers the same extension as civil servants, and instead has deferred the issue to local city and county governments, the union said.
Only Taipei and Taoyuan, and Chiayi, Hsinchu, Penghu, Taitung and Yilan counties have agreed to extend the grace period for teachers, it said.
Federation president Lin Shuo-chieh (林碩杰) said that employers have not discussed the issue of unused days off with their employees, adding that there is no legal basis for teachers to reach out for recourse, as they do not fall under the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), nor can their days off be commuted to wages.
Extending the grace period would allow some teachers to use their days off that would have otherwise been written off, Lin said.
Lin said the ministry should work with cities and counties to implement a policy on days off as soon as possible.
The ministry, and local governments should also allow teachers to use their off days accumulated at a previous school before transferring, Lin said. #