Minimum wage committee calls for 3 percent increase

By Lee Ya-wen and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Thu, Aug 15, 2019 - Page 1

The minimum wage is to be raised to NT$23,800 per month for salaried employees and NT$158 per hour for those on hourly wages, the Ministry of Labor’s Minimum Wage Review Committee said yesterday.

The committee held its third annual session from 10am to 4pm yesterday, after which Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) announced the results at a news conference.

The new rates would be sent to the Executive Yuan for approval and are expected to take effect next year, the ministry said.

The rates would result in a 3 percent increase over the current monthly minimum wage of NT$23,100 and a 5.3 percent increase over the current minimum hourly wage of NT$150.

Bureau of Labor Insurance statistics on insured workers from May showed that there were 1.36 million salaried workers earning minimum wage, 465,000 salaried migrant workers earning minimum pay and 556,000 part-time workers making the hourly minimum, all of whom would benefit from the new rates, the ministry said.

Increases to the minimum wage over the past four years have been a welcome trend, but only increasing minimum salaries by 3 percent and hourly wages by 5 percent is “unfortunate and a missed opportunity,” the Taiwan Labor Front said.

However, the hikes showcase President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) willingness to keep her promise to workers and highlights the pressing need for the implementation of systematic minimum wage increases, it said.

Chinese National Federation of Industries standing director Sam Ho (何語) criticized the new rates, saying that companies would not endorse them.

“The economic outlook for the second half of this year is not good. We do not know what orders for next year will be like and domestic demand is not ideal. We will not endorse [the new wage rates],” Ho said.

While South Korea has repeatedly increased its minimum wage over the past several years, those hikes coincided with increases in the national budget to cap the unemployment rate, and subsidies to corporations, as encouragement for investors and to promote consumer spending, he said.

The government has not similarly assisted the nation’s 1.4 million small and medium enterprises, he said.