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  • Interpretation
  • No.456
  • Date
  • 1998/06/05
  • Issue
    • Article 25, Paragraph 1, of the Enforcement Rules of the Labor Insurance Act, as amended prior to 1996, provides that the labor insurance program should be offered and limited to full-time employees and staff members. Does the provision contradict the Constitution?
  • Holding
    •        Article 153 of the Constitution proclaims that the nation shall implement a policy of labor protection. The government, in the interest of protecting the lives of workers and promoting social security, has enacted the Labor Insurance Act. The employees and staff members or laborers referred to in Article 6, Paragraph 1, Subparagraphs 1 to 5, of the Act, shall all join the Labor Insurance Program as insured persons and their employers or the organizations or institutions they are affiliated with shall become insured units. In addition, the employees and staff members referred to in Article 8, Paragraph 1, Subparagraphs 1 and 2, of the Act may also participate in the Labor Insurance Program as other qualified employees and staff members or laborers stipulated in the Act. For the employees and staff members or laborers participating in the Labor Insurance Program as insured persons, the Act does not limit its coverage to full-time employees and staff members. However, prior to the September 13, 1996 amendments to the Enforcement Rules of the Labor Insurance Act, Article 25, Paragraph 1, of said Rules stipulated that "for those joining the Labor Insurance Program in accordance with Article 6, Paragraph 1, Subparagraphs 1 to 5, and Article 8, Paragraph 1, Subparagraphs 1 to 2, of the Act, the coverage is restricted to full-time employees and staff members." Although this explicit exclusion of non-full-time employees and staff members or laborers from receiving the qualifications as insured persons is intended to serve the purposes of preventing those who do not have the status of workers from joining the Labor Insurance Program as imposters, thereby obtaining insurance benefits unlawfully, and draining the financial foundation of the program, it has not taken into account the rights and privileges of those non-full-time employees and staff members or laborers who are qualified as insured persons as stipulated in the same Act. Therefore, this exclusion is in conflict with the intention of protecting workers as proclaimed by the Constitution. Accordingly, by excluding those workers who are not disqualified by the Act as insured persons and limiting the subject of its coverage, the abovementioned Article 25, Paragraph 1, of the Enforcement Rules of the Labor Insurance Act has exceeded the necessary boundaries of the authorization which the law has offered to prescribe in its Enforcement Rules. As it is incompatible with the purposes proclaimed in Article 23 of the Constitution, the said Paragraph shall no longer be applicable.
  • Reasoning
    •        Article 153 of the Constitution proclaims that the nation shall implement a policy of labor protection. The Government, in the interest of protecting the lives of workers and promoting social security, has enacted the Labor Insurance Act. In addition, pursuant to Article 23 of the Constitution, the freedom and rights of the citizens can only be restricted by the laws and should not exceed the necessary boundaries. When a law authorizes the administrative institution to prescribe implementing regulations in general, the said institution can enact the Enforcement Rules to implement the detailed and technical aspects of the enforcement of the authorizing law, provided that the regulations shall be consistent with the legislative purposes and do not overstep the boundaries of the authorizing law. Furthermore, the contents of the Enforcement Rules shall not conflict with the authorizing law, violate the freedom and rights of the citizens, or add restrictions that are not specified in the authorizing law. The above has been explained in detail by this Yuan in the Interpretation No. 367. The employees and staff members or laborers referred to in Article 6, Paragraph 1, Subparagraphs 1 to 5, of the Labor Insurance Act, shall deem their employers or the organizations or institutions they are affiliated with as insured units, and shall all join the Labor Insurance Program as insured persons. In addition, the employees and staff members referred to in Article 8, Paragraph 1, Subparagraphs 1 and 2, of the Act may also participate in the program as other qualified employees and staff members or laborers stipulated in the Act. Pursuant to Article 9, Paragraph 1, of the Labor Standards Act, the types of work performed by the workers may be temporary, short-term, seasonal, for special purposes or of a continuous nature, but their status as workers remains the same. Since the application of the qualifications of the insured persons stipulated in the Labor Insurance Act affects the rights and interests of workers, it shall be prescribed by law. The same Act, in addressing the qualifications for employees and staff members or laborers to participate in the Labor Insurance Program as insured persons, does not restrict them to full-time employees and staff members. Therefore, it is quite clear that its legislative intent and purposes have taken into account the principle of proportionality as proclaimed in Article 23 of the Constitution. Prior to the September 13, 1996 amendments to the Enforcement Rules of the Labor Insurance Act, Article 25, Paragraph 1, of said Rules stipulated that "for those joining the Labor Insurance Program in accordance with Article 6, Paragraph 1, Subparagraphs 1 to 5, and Article 8, Paragraph 1, Subparagraphs 1 and 2, of the Act, the coverage is restricted to full-time employees and staff members." (This Paragraph has since been repealed). However, the Council of Labor Affairs of the Executive Yuan issued an interpretative letter titled Lao-Pao-Erh-Tzyh No. 16786 on August 4, 1988, stating that “the term ‘full-time employees’ refers to those workers employed by a hiring unit to provide services in the entirety of their working hours for that hiring unit, or workers controlled by a hiring unit to do full-time field work and receive full-time wages in accordance with related regulations. Those employed for part-time work and receiving part-time wages from their employers are not full-time employees or staff members. Therefore, they are not qualified to join the insured units and participate in the Labor Insurance Program as insured persons.” The purposes of this letter are to exclude non full-time employees or staff members or laborers from receiving the qualifications as insured persons. Although they are intended to prevent those who do not have the status of labor from joining the Labor Insurance Program as imposters, thereby obtaining insurance benefits unlawfully, and draining the financial foundation of the program, they have not taken into account the rights and interests of those non-full-time employees and staff members or laborers who are qualified as insured persons as stipulated in the same Act. Therefore, this exclusion is in conflict with the intention of protecting workers as proclaimed by the Constitution. Accordingly, by excluding those workers who are not disqualified by the Act as insured persons and limiting the subject of its coverage, the abovementioned Article 25, Paragraph 1, of the Enforcement Rules of the Labor Insurance Act has exceeded the necessary boundaries of the authorization which the law has offered to prescribe in its Enforcement Rules. As it is incompatible with the purposes proclaimed in Article 23 of the Constitution, the said Paragraph shall no longer be applicable.  
      
    • *Translated by Mr. Cing-Kae Chiao.
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