Employers must provide masks to foreign caregivers at hospitals: MOL

Two people are seen wearing masks in Taipei on Jan. 30, 2020. (CNA)
Two people are seen wearing masks in Taipei on Jan. 30, 2020. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Employers are legally obliged to provide surgical face masks to foreign caregivers who visit hospitals in the course of their duties, Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Thursday.

In a press release addressing response measures being taken against a new form of coronavirus, the ministry said that providing face masks in hospitals falls under employers’ legal responsibility to guarantee safe working conditions.

According to the ministry, failure to provide a safe working environment for foreign workers, if not rectified within a stated period, is punishable under the Employment Service Act by a fine of between NT$60,000 (US$1,982) and NT$300,000, as well as a two-year ban from employing foreign workers.

The ministry added that it is preparing to send a letter to the relevant manpower agencies and associations, to ensure employers are aware of their obligations in this regard.

Meanwhile, in terms of virus prevention outreach among the more than 700,000 migrant workers in Taiwan, the MOL said it is offering 24-hour consultation services via its 1955 hotline, which are available in Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, English and Chinese.

As of Wednesday, the 1955 number is also being used to send text messages containing important virus prevention information, the ministry said.

Recently-arrived migrant workers should keep watch for any virus-related symptoms, including a cough or fever, within the first 14 days after their arrival, and contact the MOL’s 1955 migrant worker hotline or the Centers for Disease Control’s 1922 (or 0800-001922) epidemic prevention hotline to report any concerns, the ministry said.

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