Tue, Jul 31, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Half of firms fear costs increase if wages raised: poll

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Nearly half of employers in a survey said their labor costs would rise if the government raises the minimum hourly wage this year, an online survey by 104 Job Bank (104人力銀行) showed yesterday.

However, about 60 percent would hire less workers paid by the hour or transfer them to a monthly wage system, the survey said.

The online manpower agency’s data showed that 49.3 percent of employers would need to pay more under the assumption that the minimum hourly wage would be raised by 11 percent from NT$103 (US$3.42) to NT$115 this year.

Human resources expenditure is expected to rise by an average of 5.84 percent, with employers in the accommodation and catering industry affected the most, the agency said.

“The accommodation and catering industry has always had the highest demand for part-time workers, who are paid by the hour,” Regis Chen (陳力孓), 104 Job Bank’s marketing director, said in a press release.

However, 104 Job Bank project manager Pola Chang (張雅惠) said that monthly wages are not suited to all types of positions.

Moreover, the government may also choose to raise the minimum monthly wage as well, the agency said.

The survey — jointly conducted by the job bank and National Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of National Development associate professor Hsin Ping-lung (辛炳隆) — polled 896 employers uploading job openings on the agency’s Web site.

In related news, six major industrial and commercial groups yesterday asked the government to defer the latest minimum wage hike plan amid a slowing economy.

The groups also said they hoped the government would introduce dual wage tracks for foreign and domestic workers to help them remain competitive.

Whether the government would raise the minimum wage would likely depend on the nation’s GDP growth forecast for this year, which the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics is set to announce this morning.

Hsin said that raising the minimum wage was meant to help low-salary workers amid rising consumer prices, adding that the increase in the minimum wage should follow the annual growth in headline inflation the previous year.

Even if the government decides to postpone raising the minimum wage this year, the level of increase would still be reflected in the next round of revision in the near future, Hsin added.

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