Taiwan: Q&A - Employer COVID-19 Vaccination Policies (Updated)

(NEW!) Has vaccination been made mandatory in your jurisdiction?

No. The Taiwan Government encourages Taiwanese people to get vaccination if they are qualified to receive any one of the vaccinations.

Can an employer require employees to get the COVID vaccination? If yes, are there any exceptions or special circumstances that an employer must consider?

No. An employer cannot require employees to be vaccinated. An employee should be fully evaluated by a doctor and the employee is entitled, at his/her sole discretion and of his/her own volition, to decide whether to receive a vaccine. Thus, an employee can refuse to be vaccinated.

(NEW!) Can employers require the wearing of masks in the workplace?

Yes. According to the policies published by the Taiwan Center for Disease Control, as of the present (October 2021), masks must be worn at all times when being outside, unless an individual / group successfully applies for an exception as follows:

  • when doing exercises outdoors;
  • when taking individual/group photos indoors and outdoors; or

when social distancing can be maintained and none of the individuals have any COVID symptoms.

Under the situations listed above, people are not be required to wear a mask. As a result, employers may (and shall, as currently) still require employees to wear masks if social distancing cannot be maintained.

Can employees refuse to be vaccinated? How does an employer need to balance its obligation to provide a safe work environment with an employee’s rights?

Yes. Employees can refuse to be vaccinated, as the Taiwanese people are not obligated to receive a vaccination.

So far, Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor, which is the competent authority for labor affairs, has only issued an advisory directive, which directive imposes upon employers no mandatory obligations. According to said directive, employers and employees can negotiate and reach an agreement on how to maintain a safe work place for employees’ health and sanitation.

In the event of a refusal, can an employee be dismissed for refusal to comply with the employer’s vaccination policy? Will the employee’s refusal constitute just cause for termination?

An employer cannot terminate any employee who refuses to be vaccinated.

What benefits or accommodations do employers have to make for vaccinated employees?

On May 5, 2021, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced that it would implement an unpaid vaccination leave policy, effective immediately. The policy allows employees to take a vaccination leave, starting from the date of vaccination until 24:00 the following day, in consideration of the possible adverse reactions after vaccination. As a result, an employee can apply to take such leave by providing his or her COVID vaccination record card.

Apart from the above, there are no other benefits or accommodations that employers are required to make for vaccinated employees.

Can vaccinated employees refuse to work in the same vicinity as employees who are not vaccinated?

No regulations explicitly give employees such a right to refuse to work in the same vicinity as employees who are not vaccinated.

In your country, are employers required to provide paid leave for employees to get vaccinated?

As indicated above, employers are only required to provide unpaid vaccination leave for employees for the time during which employees get one of the vaccinations.

Contributors

Formosa Transnational
Brian Hsieh, brian.hsieh@taiwanlaw.com
Emily Hsu, emily.hsu@taiwanlaw.com