New regulatory measures on work to take effect from Jan. 1


TAIPEI — Taiwan will implement a slew of new measures starting Jan. 1, including cutting the maximum work hours from the current 84 every two weeks to 40 hours per week and no more than eight hours each day, and cutting the number of national holidays from 19 to 12 days, to make the total number of days off for workers in a year 116 days.

An amendment to the law governing passport issuance will also take effect that day to give the authorities the right to revoke citizens’ passports if they deface or alter them, including putting stickers on a Republic of China passport, and keeping them waiting two to six months before they can reapply.

Meanwhile, in an effort to promote awareness of healthy diets among children, restrictions imposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on advertising and marketing ploys such as giving out toys will come into effect that day.

A ban on TV advertising between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. of junk food with excessively high levels of fat, sodium and sugar will be implemented.

A complete ban has also been put on the promotion of toys given out with food products, a common marketing method among fast food chains, according to the FDA.

Moreover, on the health front, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will recommend from Friday that babies receive Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination against tuberculosis at between five and eight months of age, a postponement from its current guidance of 24 hours after birth.

Rapid dengue fever screening tests to check for possible infection of inbound passengers with a body temperature higher than 38 degrees Celsius and having arrived from dengue-endemic areas for more than six days are to be implemented at international airports starting from the same day.

A law amendment to introduce a commodity tax cut of NT$50,000 (US$1,517) for those replacing used vehicles six years or older with new purchases will come into effect Jan. 8.

In the case of motorbikes, the tax reduction will be NT$4,000 for replacement after at least four years of ownership, according to the amendment to the Commodity Tax Act.

Cross-strait aviation pact takes effect In addition to new laws, an aviation agreement that was signed between Taiwan and China in August took effect Thursday, with the aim of fostering bilateral cooperation on flight safety, according to Taiwan’s semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

The agreement also seeks to improve the punctuality of Taiwan-China flights, especially as the weekly number has increased to 890 since Oct. 1, the SEF said.

Under the pact, which was signed Aug. 25 in China’s Fuzhou City, aviation authorities will be better able to monitor flight operations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait by means of a smoother contact mechanism, the SEF said.

Closer cooperation between the two sides in the area of aviation may help prevent accidents and safeguard passengers, according to the SEF, which inked the agreement with its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS).