Indebted workers will be able to apply for cheap government loans starting today, under a Council of Labor Affairs scheme designed to fulfil the Chinese custom of paying off debts for the Lunar New Year.
Some 2.48 million workers who have been covered by the labor insurance scheme for at least 15 years will be eligible for the loans.
Priority will be given to those in particular need, especially to those injured in occupational or traffic accidents.
Loan applications will be accepted until next Thursday.
The NT$10 billion project, providing three-year loans at a 3.75 percent annual rate of interest, is being introduced to fulfil the government's obligations under an amendment to the Labor Insurance Law (勞保條例) passed by the legislature on Jan. 13. The amendment had been proposed by the PFP and DPP legislative caucuses.
Interest rates for three-year cash loans from commercial lenders range between 7 percent and 8 percent.
Bureau of Labor Insurance Director General Liao Pi-ying (
The council says that workers who have been covered by labor insurance for between 15 and 20 years may apply for a maximum loan of NT$100,000. Workers covered for between 20 and 25 years will be eligible for a maximum loan of NT$150,000 and those covered for over 25 years may apply for a maximum loan of NT$200,000.
Council of Labor Affairs Chairwoman Chen Chu (
* The NT$10 billion project will provide three-year loans at 3.75 percent annual interest.
* Workers must have been covered by labor insurance for at least 15 years to be eligible.
* Priority will be given to those injured in traffic or occupational accidents.
* The funds will be released on Lunar New Year's eve.
* Some 2.48 million people are eligible to apply for a loan.
Chu said there is no means test or any specific eligibility criteria.
She added that if the total value of loans sought exceeded NT$10 billion, it would be necessary to draw lots.
The funds will be released on Lunar New Year's eve.
All the loans must be repaid within three years. Deductions will be made from the labor insurance allowances of workers who fail to repay on time, to the value of the outstanding balance.
Also yesterday, the council started to interview unemployed workers who applied for the first 600 jobs under the Cabinet's recently announced job-creation measures.
The first 600 workers are expected to start work tomorrow.
Another 1,300 jobs are to be allocated under the scheme before the Lunar New Year.
The council stressed that it would allocate jobs fairly.
It has set up a Web site to allow applicants to check the progress of their applications.