Sat, Dec 27, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Benefits unchanged by unpaid leave: NHI

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The soaring number of workers on unpaid leave has kept the phone lines busy at the Bureau of National Health Insurance (NHI), which said yesterday that during unpaid leave an employee’s NHI benefits remain the same as during regular working periods.

In the midst of the economic downturn, companies have turned to laying off workers or giving them unpaid leave in order to cut down on costs. This has spurred many workers to call local health bureaus with questions about their health insurance benefits.

“During unpaid leave, the employer and the employee are still bound by the employment contract, so the employer must still keep the employee on the company’s NHI plan,” said Cheng Mu (程穆), secretary of the bureau’s Underwriting Affairs section.

The insured amount must remain the same as before the unpaid leave started, so the employee’s benefits during unpaid leave should not be any different than during regular working periods, he said.

Meanwhile, in related news, the Alliance for Surveillance of the NHI yesterday urged the bureau to collect Taipei City Government’s debts or auction off the land confiscated from the local government.

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) and Department of Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川) have been under fire by alliance members and other critics for saying that the land confiscated from local governments and the debts they owe the central government should be handled as two separate issues.

The Taipei City Government should first pay back the NT$30 billion that it owes in NHI debts to the central government, Alliance for Surveillance of the NHI spokesperson Eva Teng (滕西華) said.

The alliance said yesterday that the city government should pay back its debts in installments and if by 2010 the debts have still not been paid off in full, then the bureau should auction off the land that has been confiscated.

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