Fri, Nov 23, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Cabinet raises prospects for disadvantaged groups

INCENTIVES The Cabinet proposed expanding a job scheme through measures such as higher subsidies to encourage hiring of economically disadvantaged people

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Cabinet yesterday approved a proposal designed to encourage employers to hire people from disadvantaged groups and create 300,000 new job opportunities next year, an official said.

Council of Labor Affairs Chairman Lu Tien-Lin (盧天麟) revealed details of the proposal at a press conference held after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

"Although the unemployment rate hit a seven-year low of 3.92 percent in the first nine months of this year, the middle aged, the elderly, women, Aborigines and disabled people still found it hard to find stable, permanent employment," Lu said.

"In response to this, the council decided to expand the scheme drafted in 2004 to help the jobless by including more economically disadvantaged groups," Lu said.

The newly added groups include: women who have had to leave jobs because of family reasons, women in hardship, foreign spouses, Chinese spouses and disadvantaged young people aged between 15 and 24.

Lu said that the initial employment scheme had helped about 252,000 people find jobs in the first 10 months of the year -- still some 30,000 short of its target for this year.

The government expects to spend NT$5.1 billion (US$157 million) on the project this year.

"We are confident about meeting our goal by the end of the year," Lu said.

"And with the expansion of the scheme, we hope to assist another 300,000 people find jobs [next year]," he said.

Under the expanded scheme, the monthly subsidy an employer can obtain from the government for hiring people from disadvantaged groups will be raised from NT$5,000 to NT$10,000 for the first year.

The government will also raise the subsidy given to an employer for hiring a contract laborer from NT$95 per hour to NT$100 per hour for a maximum of 176 hours a month for six months.

The government will also establish a NT$20 million fund for former prison inmates to start their own businesses.

"Considering the difficulty they have finding a job, starting next year, they can loan up to NT$1 million at just 2.83 percent interest to help them restart their careers," Lu said.

Also See: Unemployment rate falls to 3.92 percent

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