To speed up pension reform, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday reiterated its support for draft legislation proposing to phase out the 18 percent preferential savings rate given to retired civil servants in two years.
The Executive Yuan’s draft bill stipulates a six-year phase-out, while the New Power Party proposes a three-year phase-out. The DPP’s draft bill specifies a two-year period, which the caucus yesterday resolved to proceed with.
The caucus has also determined a “pension floor” of a monthly income of NT$32,160 for the preferential rate allowing those who receive less than this amount to retain the 18 percent rate.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Caucus members have not yet agreed on the pace of lowering the income replacement ratio — from 75 percent to 65 percent either in five years or 10 years — but aim to do so at a meeting tomorrow.
The caucus has yet to decide how much the government should pay for the pension premium of public-sector employees taking parental leave, although it has agreed that the period employees spend on parental leave can be counted toward their years of service.
The date of enforcement of the draft pension reform bills, although yet to be finalized, would likely be on July 1 next year.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) accused the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus of stalling the negotiations and delaying the legislation, while failing to reach an internal consensus over the review of the draft bills.
“[The KMT] is obstructing the review of pension reform bills with a lengthy [negotiation] process and using physical strategies [to disrupt] the review of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program,” Ker said.
Meanwhile, legislators yesterday approved a proposal to lower the legal age at which Aboriginal public servants are allowed to receive pensions by five years, meaning they could start receiving pensions when they reach 50.
Current rules state that public servants must be at least 55 years old and have served for 30 years to qualify for retirement and pension.
KMT Legislator Sra Kacaw (鄭天財) initiated the motion, saying that given Aborigines’ shorter life expectancy, they should be allowed to receive pensions at an earlier age.
Statistics compiled by the Ministry of Civil Service show that there is a five-year difference between the average period over which civil servants of Aboriginal lineage and those of other ethnicity receive pensions, meaning that, regardless of their retirement age, Aborigines on average forgo five years worth of pension.
Aborigines on average retire at 55 and die at 66, while members of other ethnic groups on average retire at 60 and die at 77, the statistics showed.
Sra Kacaw’s proposal gained non-partisan support, with Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chuan (蘇嘉全) announcing that the proposal is to proceed to second reading.
Despite the progress, several key proposals, including how the bottom line for civil servants’ pensions should be set; how much the five-year time frame during which pensions are calculated should be extended by; and how civil servants on childcare leave and the government should split the allocation of monthly payment toward the pension fund in exchange for their seniority not being affected, remained in limbo.
Following an internal discussion, KMT caucus convener Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) said that setting the minimum pension payment at NT$32,160 would undermine the prevalent belief in Taiwan that as long as one works hard to pass qualification tests and ascend the ranks in public office, one would be able to have a good life.
DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said that the KMT stalled a vote because it plans to use the drafts on which the caucuses have reached agreements as bargaining chips in latter negotiations.
He proposed that the KMT and DPP caucuses pass drafts on which they have achieved consensuses first.
However, Sufin proposed that a clause-by-clause review be held in second reading to test how well individual draft articles would mesh with the bill.
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit