Tue, May 15, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Cabinet eyes salary hike to NT$30,000 per month

Staff writer, with CNA

Premier William Lai, center, flanked by Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung, left, and Vice Premier Shih Jun-ji, speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

The Executive Yuan yesterday unveiled a set of plans to increase the wages of low-paid workers, including hiking the minimum wage for government employees to NT$30,000 (US$1,009) per month, encouraging or pressing private firms to follow suit, and raising the statutory hourly wage rate to NT$150 from NT$140.

A Cabinet report presented by Vice Premier Shih Jun-ji (施俊吉) at a news conference showed the number of employees who earned less than NT$30,000 per month last year was about 3.051 million, or 34 percent of the employed population, 51.8 percent of whom were 15 to 29 years old.

Atypical workers — those who have no fixed term of employment, including part-time workers, outsourced workers and workers on temporary contracts — accounted for a large percentage of the low-wage population, the report showed.

Last year, there were 805,000 atypical workers in the nation, accounting for 7.11 percent of the total working population, which was an increase of 155,000 from 2008, the report showed.

As of May last year, the average salary of atypical workers was about NT$22,550, just above the statutory minimum monthly wage of NT$22,000, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics data showed.

Of the 3.051 million people earning less than NT$30,000 per month, at least 19,410 were employed at listed companies, and 16,067 at government agencies, state-owned enterprises or government-funded institutions, the report showed.

That meant that nearly 99 percent were employees of small and medium-sized enterprises that were not listed on the stock exchange, the report said.

Shih said that under the Cabinet’s proposed “five major policies and 16 measures,” the monthly salary paid to the 16,067 people employed at government or state-run enterprises would be increased to NT$30,000, but that it would be done gradually to avoid disrupting the equity of the salary structure.

Such a move would cost the government an additional NT$962 million annually, he said, adding that listed companies should be responsible for raising the salaries of their own employees, which the Cabinet said would cost the firms an estimated NT$964 million annually.

Low pay is one of the issues that the public has asked the government to solve, and after several cross-departmental meetings, the Executive Yuan has proposed a strategy, Premier William Lai (賴清德) said.

In the short term, the government is to increase public workers’ salaries, include salary standards as a bonus item when accessing companies for government procurement and awards, encourage private businesses to raise salaries, make salaries transparent and raise the minimum hourly wage, he said.

In the medium-to-long term, the government is to increase investments, speed up industry upgrades, reduce the burden on employees, improve the quality of human resources and minimize the gap between academia and industry, he said.

The main issue is a lack of investment, Lai added.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) proposed “five plus two” industrial innovation plan would help raise salaries, he said, adding that the Executive Yuan is to continue to push the strategy.

The Cabinet has also suggested raising the statutory hourly wage to NT$150 from NT$140 when the Basic Wage Deliberation Committee meets later this year to review minimum wages.

Additional reporting by Chen Yu-fu

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