Legislators, labor leaders and representatives from the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) met yesterday to discuss the council's proposals to reform the Statute Governing Labor Pension (勞工退休金條例).
The reform measures include lowering the heavy fines currently levied on employers who default on labor pension payments and encouraging retirees to opt for monthly payments rather than a lump sum.
According to the CLA representatives, the measures will help Taiwan's labor pension system function more efficiently and effectively, but labor leaders and some legislators are calling the reforms possible land mines for labor interests. There were cries from the margins of the meeting that the council should be renamed the "Council of Capitalist Affairs."
"The goal is to create a win-win situation for labor and capital," said the deputy director of the council's Department of Labor Standards, Wang Chien-hung (
According to Wang, the fines given to employers who fail to pay labor insurance, which start at 3 percent of the owed amount every day, are onerous and too severe given the infringement.
The CLA wants to bring the fines down in line with fines for defaulting on national health insurance payments or labor insurance -- 0.2 percent or 0.1 percent of the amount owed per day -- and to cap the total fine at 30 percent of the amount owed.
"Labor pension payments are different because if the owners don't pay, the workers don't get their benefits," Huang Yin-hua (
"The CLA promised us we will get our pensions because there will be heavy and cumulative fines for owners who don't pay," she said. "This was how we were persuaded to get on board with the new labor pension system."
Huang characterized the move as a "bait-and-switch" trick and expressed fears that more companies would start to default if the rules are changed.
The CLA proposal to encourage more workers to take monthly payments instead of a lump sum upon retirement was also greeted with suspicion and a measure of hostility. Meng Ai-lun (孟藹倫), the director of the council's Department of Labor Insurance, said monthly payments adjusted to the consumer price index offer retirees greater security against unexpected events such as inflation or con-artists who target the elderly.
"We're not against monthly payments in principle," Huang said. "But it's being used as yet another excuse to shrink benefits. Also, people don't trust the government to keep up with payments forever. They would rather have the money in their pocket."
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
A DEPRIVATION? The Taiwan Higher Education Union said the program, which drew much student criticism, undermined students' right to an education The Taiwan Higher Education Union on Monday accused Ming Chuan University (MCU) of sacrificing its students’ right to education by altering the English-language instruction for first-year students. The university, which has long emphasized the value that it places on English-language education, in the 2019-2020 academic year changed its English program for first-year students to a combination of self-learning through online videos and weekly lab sessions, during which students would take online tests, the union said. The change has deprived more than 3,000 students of in-person instruction and of interaction with their teachers, the union added. The online program drew much criticism from students