Tue, May 02, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Quibbles, scuffle drag out committee pension review

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Legislators grapple at the Legislative Yuan yesterday during the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statute Committee’s first reading of a bill on retirement benefits for civil servants.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

A legislative review of draft acts to reform the civil servants’ pension plan reached some conclusions yesterday despite brawls and procedural disruptions.

Several clauses of the draft acts proposed by the Examination Yuan, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the New Power Party and the People First Party were agreed upon during a meeting of the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee yesterday.

There was an extensive debate over the base figure for the calculation of income replacement rate, the minimum pension level, pension contribution rates, parental benefits and the government responsibility for pension payment.

The base figure for the calculation of the income replacement rate was determined to be “two times a civil servant’s basic salary,” but the committee did not decide on the minimum pension level, saying that it should be decided upon in cross-caucus negotiations.

The committee also did not reach consensus on how much the government should help civil servants taking parental leave in paying for their pension premiums to boost the nation’s falling birth rate.

A fight erupted between DPP and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers after DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康), a co-convener of the committee, rejected the KMT caucus’ request to have Ministry of Justice officials attend the meeting to provide legal advice on the wording of a clause because Legislative Research Bureau officials were already in attendance.

KMT lawmakers stormed the podium, and tempers flared as KMT Legislator Yosi Takun (孔文吉) scuffled with Tuan as he tried to seize Tuan’s microphone.

The meeting was adjourned for nearly an hour until a ministry official arrived.

Even before that, KMT lawmakers had tried to delay the discussion, first with a series of procedural maneuvers and then a series of extended speeches that took up most of the morning.

The seven motions raised by the KMT caucus included ending the review at 5:30pm to prevent Legislative Yuan staff having to work overtime on Workers’ Day; postponing the review until the Executive Yuan and the Examination Yuan report to the legislature on pension issues; that the government announce long-term reform plans to keep the pension funds afloat for at least 30 years; and for a constitutional interpretation to be sought on conflicting reform proposals.

The DPP majority on the committee was able to reject the KMT motions.

Saying that it did not oppose the reform, the KMT said the principle of legitimate expectation needed to be recognized.

Some of the proposals might breach legitimate expectations, as civil servants “decided to take government jobs under the presumption that they would be entitled to retirement benefits guaranteed by the existing system,” KMT Legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福) said.

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