Sat, Jul 21, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Legislature enacts social security bill

NEW RULES In addition to passing an integrated pension bill, the legislature enacted an increase in farmers' pensions and a reduction in license tax on bigger motorcycles

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislature yesterday enacted a bill designed to create a social security system that will cover 3.5 million people who currently lack any pension benefits.

The National Pension Law (國民年金法) makes it possible for people aged 25 to 65 who are not covered by military, civil service, teachers' or labor insurance, as well as farmers under the age of 65, to join the program.

They will be required to pay a monthly contribution based on a percentage of the national minimum wage. Contributions will be calculated on a graded scale ranging from 6.5 percent to 12 percent of minimum wage.

After retirement at the age of 65, contributors would receive a pension of up to NT$8,986 per month for the rest of their life, a figure that will be adjusted in line with changes in the consumer price index.

Given the current minimum wage of NT$17,280, a monthly contribution of 6.5 percent of the minimum wage would amount to NT$1,123, of which a citizen will pay 60 percent, or NT$674, per month, while the government will cover the remaining 40 percent.

After 40 years, the total amount contributed by the citizen would be NT$515,082, while the payout would amount to NT$1.83 million over 17 years, calculated on an average lifespan of 82 years.

Integration

The bill also calls for the integration of four existing monthly allowances -- the NT$3,000 allowance for senior citizens, NT$5,000 for elderly farmers, NT$3,000 for Aboriginal senior citizens and NT$6,000 for elderly members of low-income households.

After the implementation of the national pension program, which is to start on Oct. 1 next year, the four categories of allowances will be scrapped, although the benefits will remained unchanged.

The legislature yesterday also passed an amendment to the Temporary Statute Regarding the Welfare Pension of Senior Farmers (老年農民福利津貼暫行條例), which raises the monthly pension from NT$5,000 to NT$6,000.

The amendment was passed with immediate effect, and the increase will cost the government an additional NT$8.4 billion (US$255.9 million) per year.

Budget bills

Also passed were two long-delayed budget bills for the current fiscal year -- a NT$2.9 trillion budget for state-owned enterprises and a NT$1 trillion budget for governmental non-profit funds -- as well as the NT$75.8 billion special budget for public construction projects.

The special budget was part of the government's NT$500 billion investment plan for major public construction projects from 2004 to next year.

The government initially expected that the budget would increase the nation's economic growth by 0.62 percent and create 39,000 job opportunities per year.

Lawmakers also passed an amendment to the License Plate Tax Law (使用牌照稅法), reducing the license tax on motorcycles with an engine capacity of 250cc or larger and expanding the scope of license tax exemption in outlying islands from 1,800cc to 2,400cc.

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