||The Labor Standards Act is the major statute protecting the rights of workers. In 1996, the Article 84-1 of the Labor Standards Act was added to provide the employers with the right to flexibly adjust working hours because of the impossibility to apply the standard working hour requirement to certain professions with special working conditions, in which has caused excessive exploitation of workers ensued. The state then intervened in response to the rising demands for workers’ rights.This paper explores the mediating role of the state in the face of the conflicts between employers’ demanding on lowering labor cost and those of the workers’ protecting for their legal rights. With interviews and field researches between employers, workers and government officials, the major issues were clarified on what “necessity of flexible working hours” meant for employers. It also described the exploitation of workers in the labor market and examined the state’s intervention between the workers and the employers.|
The findings of this research revealed that the state’s intervention in form of adding the Article 84-1 was related to the trend of liberalization from the 1990s.The labor regime in Taiwan is becoming more in line with the idea of free market economy with relaxed regulations because of globalization and liberalization. This research concludes that the Article 84-1 of the Labor Standards Act is the result of commercialization in the labor regime, market orientation and liberalization. With its enforcement, the state embarked on a course of liberalizing the market as the mode of governance. This liberalization caused the management and supervision of the labor conditions to become relaxed. Such relaxations can be observed from the following aspects: legislation with vague definitions, substantial room for interpretation, the passive attitude of the bureaucrats towards regulation, excessive parochialism of government officials, labor inspectors are insufficient ,the market-oriented approach in the state’s intervention, and the facilitation of negotiation between the employers and the workers under the principle of free market bargaining. The government gradually resorted to the principles of capitalism and the free development of market economy to conduct its regulatory role in formulating policy, implementing such policy, and inspecting labor conditions. As a result, the pursuit of profits by the employers through relaxation of regulations compromised the autonomy of the workers in regard to working conditions. The tendency towards market economy and capital accumulation resulted in a more flexible labor regime.