The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) yesterday said that it plans to extend the retirement age for workers in Taiwan from the current 60 years old to 65 years old, to ease the fiscal burden on the social welfare system.
Workers in Taiwan can receive pension benefits starting at 60 years old, and the council plans to gradually extend the age to 65 years old over 10 years, CEPD Deputy Minister Nancy Chen (陳小紅) told reporters yesterday after a cross-department meeting held by the council. The retirement age for civil servants in Taiwan will also be extended, Chen said.
On average, people in Taiwan retire at 55, indicating that a male citizen has to depend on a pension for 17 years on average, and a female citizen for 23 years on average, Chen said.
Meanwhile, the council also plans to ease the regulations for foreign employees, including Chinese employees, to work in Taiwan, as the work force in Taiwan gradually dwindles.
Taiwan is now home to about 470,000 new immigrants, mostly from China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.
The council estimates that the workforce in Taiwan numbered 17.3 million last year, and the number will start to decline in 2015 and decrease by half to 9.6 million by 2060, Chen said.
Chen said she will report to the Cabinet about the demographic situation within a week, while the Council of Labor Affairs, Ministry of Health and Welfare and Ministry of Education will submit a plan to cope with the situation by the end of this year.
While the raising of the retirement age will increase people’s contributions to the pension fund and reduce pension payments, as well as help stem the bleeding from the various national pension funds, critics have said at least one side effect of this move is that the average age of the labor force will increase, making it more difficult for young people to enter the job market.