Sun, Jun 13, 2004 - Page 2 News List

TSU legislator criticizes Laborers' Pension Law

FEWER BENEFITS Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Chen Chien-ming said the new law does not compare well with a more generous pension plan for civil servants

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislator said yesterday that the new Laborers' Pension Law (勞工退休條例), which was passed by the Legislative Yuan on Friday, had far fewer benefits than the pension plan for civil servants.

"The minimum requirements for retired civil servants are lower, and they also enjoy a special savings rate of 18 percent if they reached retirement age before 1995," TSU Legislator Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) said.

On July 1, 1995, a new civil servants' plan was enacted with stricter pension regulations for civil servants.

Chen urged the Examination Yuan to re-examine the regulations for civil servants to minimize the discrepancies between the two pension plans.

According to the Laborers' Pension Law, a worker needs to have reached the age of 60 with 15 years' work experience before being able to collect money from the pension fund, whereas a civil servant is only required to have worked for a minimum of 25 years.

Chiang Wen-chu (江汶珠), deputy chief of the Civil Service Pensions and Retirement Department, said that the 18 percent special savings rate has imposed a great burden on the national treasury.

"Although there are still restrictions as to which civil servants are qualified for the 18 percent special savings rate, it is still a burden," Chiang said, adding that the ministry struggles to cover the preferential interest rate during difficult economic times.

The Laborers' Pension Law requires employers to deposit at least 6 percent of employees' monthly salary into each employee's retirement fund account.

Under the new law, a retired employee may choose to withdraw money from his retirement fund in installments or in a single payment, whereas the old plan only allowed for a one-time payment.

The most significant change is that an employee's retirement account accumulates regardless of whether he or she changes jobs and employers.

Under the old plan, workers lost their seniority once they switched to another employer.

Another change brought about by the new plan is that workers whose rights are not protected under the Labor Standards Law (勞基法) are now also entitled to have individual retirement fund accounts.

The Council of Labor Affairs estimates that some 8 million workers will be affected by the new pension law, which is slated to take effect in July next year.

"The debate over workers' pensions has been dragged out over the past 10 years. The passage of the new plan marks a new stage in workers' rights. The most important thing is that a worker will have some financial support to fall back on after a lifetime of hard work," Council of Labor Affairs Chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊) said.

She said it was a relief when the Legislative Yuan passed the bill late Friday night.

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