Change in pension system sparks surge in retirements

By Lin Shu-hui and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Sun, Jan 20, 2013 - Page 1

There appears to be a connection between the changing of the monthly retirement pension fund system and an increasing number of military personnel, civil servants and teachers covered by the Public Service Pension Fund applying to retire last year, government officials and lawmakers said yesterday.

The increase was likely due to the change in the nation’s retirement system following an amendment to the Civil Servants Retirement Act (公務人員退休法) that took effect in 2011, they said.

The system initially stipulated that those whose years of service plus their actual age adds up to 75 would be eligible for monthly stipends once they retire, as opposed to a one-time withdrawal of their entire pension.

Following the amendment, the current age for eligibility for monthly stipends was raised to 85.

Facing the prospect that the delayed pension would not be increased, more members of the three services retired.

According to statistics from the Public Service Pension Fund, the number of retired or laid off military personnel, civil servants and teachers totaled 31,371, an increase of 2,269 from 2011’s total of 29,075.

The 7.9 percent rise in retirees marked a record high since 2004, the fund said.

Civil servants accounted for 10,551 of retirees last year, 1.61 percent more than 2011, the fund’s data showed.

The number of teachers retiring increased by 3.5 percent, totaling 5,799 last year.

A total of 10,521 military personnel covered by the Public Service Pension Fund retired last year, an increase of 14.9 percent from 2011.

The Ministry of Civil Service’s Department of Retirement and Survivor Relief Director Lu Ming-tai (呂明泰) said that while the change in the pension system had been one of the reasons behind the increase in retirees, government restructuring also played a role.

However, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) dismissed Lu’s remarks, saying that the reason for the surge of retirees was excessively high pensions.

Some of the civil servants above a certain rank receive pensions exceeding their pay during employment, Chen said.

Chen said that these civil servants wished to retire so that they would be able to keep their high retirement pensions.