Physicians working and labor rights protection issues in Taiwan.
Physician is a wanted career around our society; however, those who are physicians aren’t been protected by the Labor Standard Laws. Not only they are overworked and under unequal contract, but also with no workers’ compensation. Take a tragedy that happened in 2009, a physician that died through work.
According to 【住院醫師勞動權益保障及工作時間指引】( A law standard) Resident can work 28 hours straight, 80 hours a week without violating this law, but are way longer than the Labor Standard Laws. Therefore, physicians had become a high risk group suffering from coronary artery disease and stroke.
Furthermore, the employed physician is often required to sign a one-year unequal contract with the medical institution with high default liquidated damages and arbitrary job terms. If the employee leaves the hospital early, he will face a contract for nearly 800 hours of salary; and cannot express objection to the workplace; In addition, patients that requires continuous care which are expected to have a time arrangement, if the medical institution does not have a demand at that time, the doctor will not continue employed, and so the employed physician will not be able to claim any payment.
Finally, the occupational injuries encountered during working of the employed physician, such as the above-mentioned will be non-applicable to the Labor Standard Laws. They end up relying on mutual aid in medical institutions or long lawsuits.
The establishment story of the union.
Taiwan’s medical environment has created a high level of public satisfaction with the public's health insurance, and has been hailed by the international media as "the highest CP value." Every healthcare provider is a person who may be sick, from a family that needs medical care, they have no difference from the people around us. We firmly believe that the society needs all kinds of professional division of labor and plays good at their role to be able to settle down. The eyes of every trust and sincere belief is what makes the job full of happiness, even if we need to confront the god of death in critical moments, we didn’t ever close our eyes because of tiredness. The hard work of years is worth it even without others praise. However, our beliefs are often challenged. After all, overwork is not just a legend but a bloody pain.
In one and a half years, we have rewritten the "guarantee" habits that have existed in hospitals for a long time, obtained maternity leave for marriage leave doctors in Taipei City, and keeping a close eye on the government's implementation of the "incorporation of the Labor Standard Laws." Seeing medical industry needs to work together in different occupational categories, we established the Taiwan University Hospital Enterprise Trade Union in 2018 and confronted the largest public hospitals in Taiwan. From then till now, we have finally forced the hospital to correct the merit karma tradition of using holidays to go to classes.
On April 23, 2009, 34 years old Dr. Cai Bozhen, a 4-year resident in Chi Mei Hospital, worked for more than 30 hours in a row, suddenly fainted before entering the knife room and was taken to the intensive care unit for emergency treatment. Although he was out of danger after first aid, he was not able to perform the work of a surgeon because of the lack of oxygen in the brain. After that, Cai Bozhen was identified as injuries during work by the Labor Insurance Bureau. After five years of fighting with the Chi Mei Hospital, the hospital are only willing to pay part of the amount, so the lawsuit is still ongoing.