Philippine workers in Taipei. (Photo/Wang, Yuan-mao)
A Philippine labor official said Wednesday his country may stop allowing people to work as domestic helpers in Taiwan, following disagreements on who should cover payments required for the workers.
At a meeting with Taiwan's Council of Labor Affairs Nov. 5, Philippine secretary of Labor and Employment Rosalinda Baldoz said that Taiwanese employers cover workers' expenses including fees to labor brokers, travel document fees, round-trip tickets and health check fees.
Council officials said that such a proposal was not reasonable, and a follow-up meeting scheduled for the following day was canceled.
An unnamed Philippine labor official told CNA his country may be forced to stop supplying domestic helpers to Taiwan to protect the rights of its laborers if Taiwan cannot cooperate on the payment issue.
Under Philippine labor laws, overseas employers are obligated to shoulder all related costs of their laborers, the official said.
Moreover, Philippine domestic helpers are only charged commission fees equivalent to a month's wage in many countries prior to their arrival, the official said.
However, people who wish to work in Taiwan will have to pay US$1,457 in commissions — around three times their monthly salary in Taiwan — before arriving, the official said.
Upon arrival in Taiwan, a Philippine worker sees his income decrease from other commissions, the official added.
A fee of NT$1,800 (US$62) per month is deducted in the first year of employment, NT$1,700 per month in the second year and NT$1,500 per month in the third. A monthly boarding fee of NT$4,500 is also charged for those working in Taiwan's factories, official explained.
Amadeo Perez, chairman of the Philippine's representative office in Taiwan, told the CNA that he is working to establish some middle ground with Taiwan officials and hoped he could secure a decrease in commission fees.
An estimated 90,000 Filipinos are working in Taiwan and 20,000 of them are domestic helpers, who are paid US$480 monthly.
As part of efforts to phase out its export of domestic helpers in five years and protect the rights of workers currently in other countries, the Philippine government has said that it is planning to stop issuing permits to brokers in Malaysia, another major destination for Philippine workers.