Tue, Mar 20, 2018 - Page 14 News List

William Lai: Solve low salaries problem by developing the economy
賴揆:解決低薪 首要發展經濟

Premier William Lai speaks at the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday last week.

Photo: CNA

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chiang Yung-chang, during a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan last Tuesday, asked who would accept resonsibility should the Ministry of Labor fail to submit a draft minimum wage bill to the Executive Yuan before the end of the year. Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun replied that the responsibility would lie with her.

However, Premier William Lai said that the minimum wage bill is only one of several measures needed to resolve the problem of low salaries, and argued that developing the economy is to be more important for achieving salary increases.

During Chiang’s question, he referred to President Tsai Ing-wen’s political goal of enacting a minimum wage bill, but said that to date it has been a case of all talk and no action. Chiang went on to say that he has previously written to the ministry on this matter and received a reply stating the ministry hopes to complete a review of the bill by year end and have submitted it to the Executive Yuan by then.

In her reply to the question, Hsu said her ministry has already convened meetings on the matter, collated information from many countries and held public hearings in the northern, central, southern and eastern regions of the country. She added that, despite differences of opinion between workers and employers, the ministry is continuing to work in accordance with its original plan.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Wan-an handed Lai a copy of the book Laborers and asked him for more details of amendments to the Labor Standards Act. Lai responded that Taiwan has already entered the era of the knowledge economy, and the existing act is a body of law formulated for the industrial age. Lai said that the next step is for the ministry to continue gathering opinions from across society and to carry out research, adding that there is no timetable for amending the act.


1. minimum wage phr.


(zui4 di1 gong1 zi1)

2. low salary phr.


(di1 xin1)

3. all talk and no action phr.


(zhi3 wen2 lou2 ti1 xiang3)

4. collate information phr.


(sou1 ji2 zi1 xun4)

5. knowledge economy phr.


(zhi1 shi4 jing1 ji4)

(Liberty Times, translated by Edward Jones)







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Reading comprehension

Minimum wage

Many governments around the world have enacted a minimum wage, but there is considerable debate over the effectiveness of such a measure. Economists and politicians in favor of a minimum wage argue that implementing a minimum wage or increasing an existing minimum wage helps low-income families and narrows the gap between rich and poor.

Those opposed a minimum wage argue that it pushes up labor costs which eats into companies’ profit margins, causes inflation — which results in higher prices of goods for consumers — and can ultimately lead to job losses as managers are forced to lay off workers in order to cut costs.

The knowledge economy

The knowledge economy refers to an economic system based on knowledge or “intellectual capital.” The economies of most developed countries have moved away from manufacturing-intensive and labor-intensive economy toward knowledge-based services which rely on so-called “human capital” — intellectual capability rather than natural resources or physical labor.

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