The minimum wage has been increased to NT$19,047, effective from the start of this month, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) announced yesterday, an increase of NT$267, or 1.42 percent, from the rate of NT$18,780 set in January last year.
Jiang made the announcement when asked by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chen Shu-hui (陳淑慧) during a legislative question-and-answer session if the economy had improved to the extent that the wage hike could be made.
According to the Council of Labor Affairs, the minimum wage level directly affects 750,000 Taiwanese and 220,000 migrant workers.
The government in September last year gave the green light to raising the hourly basic wage from NT$103 to NT$109, effective Jan. 1 of this year, but held off on a simultaneous increase of the monthly minimum wage to NT$19,047 because of the weak economy.
Then-premier Sean Chen said the proposed increase in the monthly minimum wage would only take effect once the nation’s GDP had grown by more than 3 percent for two quarters in a row or the unemployment rate dropped below 4 percent for two consecutive months. The delay was needed to cushion the impact of higher wages on the economy, he said.
Jiang said he had approved the proposal to increase the monthly minimum wage on Monday after he confirmed with the Directorate-Generate of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) that first-quarter GDP growth had exceeded 3 percent.
GDP growth in the fourth quarter of last year was 3.72 percent.
The DGBAS usually announces GDP growth for the first quarter in May, Jiang said, adding that he did not want to wait until the formal announcement to approve the wage hike.
He said the early announcement would spare workers who will retire before the formal announcement the trouble of having to go through the pension claim process again to rectify their retirement pension claims.