Several new government measures are to take effect on Jan. 1, including a minimum wage hike and a ban on the sale of plastic shopping bags at hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores in Taipei.
The monthly minimum wage is to be raised from NT$21,009 to NT$22,000, while the hourly minimum wage is to rise from NT$133 to NT$140.
Labor insurance premium payments are to increase by 0.5 percentage points to 12 percent.
Under the new measures, workers will be able to claim their pension when they turn 61, while those who want to claim their pension early must be at least 56 years old.
A comprehensive 3 percent pay raise is to be given to government employees.
Employees at state-run corporations will also receive pay raises, but the exact percentages are to be determined based on their performance this year.
Conscription rules for the nation’s military will also change. Draftees born before 1993 will be required to perform one year of alternative military service, which would place them in positions in government agencies and public institutions.
Draftees born after 1994 will be asked to undergo four months of military training, but they will not have to serve at military bases.
They can apply to perform alternative military service for family and religious reasons.
The Environmental Protection Administration is to expand the ban on offering free plastic shopping bags to customers at an additional 80,000 retailers.
The new measure applies to pharmacies, medical equipment stores, computer retailers, consumer electronics and communications stores, book and stationery stores, laundries, beverage stores and bakeries.
Customers will have to pay for the shopping bags.
In Taipei and New Taipei City, the sale of shopping bags will be forbidden in hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores, but stores will be allowed to sell “dual-purpose bags” that function both as shopping and waste disposal bags.
Hospitalization expenses paid by patients are to be raised by NT$1,000 to NT$38,000. A patient’s copayment for the entire year is to be capped at NT$64,000, up from NT$62,000.
Some new measures are to affect motorists. Drivers refusing to yield to ambulances, fire trucks, police or other emergency vehicles would be fined NT$3,600. Additionally, the driver’s license may be revoked and they would have to wait at least one year before retaking the license test.
There will also be new road signs for speed cameras, which feature a depiction of a camera inside a red triangle.
Cyclists will be required to pay towing and storage fees if their bikes were towed for violating traffic regulations or failing to park in a designated space.
Owners of electric scooters are to be exempt from paying the vehicle license tax until 2020.
Starting next month, people buying “platform tickets” for the Taiwan Railways Administration’s services can only stay on a platform for one hour.
Also, passengers can ask for a refund without paying processing fees if they find out before boarding that their train has been delayed by more than 30 minutes.
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