Thu, Nov 05, 2015 - Page 8 News List


Pension reform suggestions

Next year there could be a change in the ruling party. Reform of the pension system for public employees — retired military personnel, public-school teachers and civil servants — has again become the focus of fierce debate. As a retired member of the military, I would like to offer my humble opinion on the subject.

First, consideration should be given to a clearer differentiation between working and retired people. Under the current system, the difference in the amount paid out to retirees and those actively working is small. Thus, after retirement, many people do nothing but wait for the money to roll in. There is no deterrent to retirement. If the gap between the two were greater — for example canceling the monthly subsidies that retired personnel receive for their children’s education and halting the increases to monthly pension payments in line with current wage adjustments in the job they retired from, or only giving increments up to a certain level — then there would be an incentive for personnel to put off retirement.

Second, currently there is a regulation that public-sector employees who take another public-sector job at “grade one” level after they retire temporarily stop getting their monthly pensions.

I think this should be modified to extend it to the private sector as well. For example, if public-sector retirees have any income up to public-servant grade-one level or the basic wage, then the payment of a monthly pension should be suspended.

I have seen a lot of people retire at the minimum statutory standard. Some even produce strange medical evidence for their retirement. However, as soon as they retire, they seem to undergo a second spring in their career, and take up job opportunities, proving that they are still able to work.

That being the case, suspending their pensions seems reasonable.

Furthermore, government finances are already stretched to their limit, so now is the time for unreasonable measures to be reformed. Such as, paying teachers according to their educational qualifications.

According to the current system, if high-school or elementary-school teachers have a master’s degree or doctorate, they are paid a higher salary. This raises the cost of pensions.

Perhaps in the past there were reasons for the system, but today, access to higher education has increased dramatically, and the case for abolition needs to be reviewed.

The South Korean government has reformed its system so that fewer retirees are able to take pensions at the level of their pre-retirement salaries.

If a nation whose financial situation is so far ahead of Taiwan’s can take such drastic measures, then why do those in power here continue to be shackled by the old system?

They seem to be incapable of thinking outside the box.

Hung Ping-chih


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