Sun, Feb 15, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Early retirement problem grows

RUNNING OUT?As a result of investment losses, the Public Servant Pension Fund was NT$1.3 trillion in the red last year, prompting many to seek pension earlier than usual

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The population of civil servants applying for early voluntary retirement grew fourfold in 10 years, from 1,330 in 1996 to 6,200 in 2006, reflecting civil servants’ general concern at the potential debt crisis of the Civil Servant Pension Fund, a recent ­government-­commissioned report showed.

The Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, a staff agency for policy coordination and integration, said the Cabinet should revise the pension system for civil servants to reduce incentives for early retirement.

The report was written by Su Tsai-tsu (蘇彩足), chairperson of the Department of Political Science at National Taiwan University. The conclusions were sent to Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) for consideration.

The Civil Servant Retirement Act (公務人員退休法) stipulates that civil servants who are aged 50 and above and have 25 years of service or are aged 60 and above and have 15 years of service qualify for early retirement and monthly retirement pension.

The monthly retirement pension granted to civil servants has long been criticized not only for having an adverse impact on social justice but also for imposing a heavy burden on the economy.

Su said that many retired civil servants had been “rehired” after their retirement, providing “services” to earn additional income on top of their monthly pension, which is the equivalent of 80 percent or more of their salary.

“Civil servants retire early with nice pensions, earning double income in their early 50s — this is a violation of social justice, for the majority of people who work in the private sector use their own savings to finance their retirement,” Su said.

The report said that many ­government-­sponsored foundations had provided retired civil servants with post-retirement jobs because of a lack of supervision.

Su said the government should extend the age threshold or the length of service required for early retirement.

The Ministry of Civil Service said that as a result of investment losses, the pension fund was NT$1.2 trillion (US$ 35.24 billion) in the red last year. Many civil servants worry that the fund will go bankrupt, the report said.

Only by elevating the threshold for early retirement could the upward trend in early retirement be retarded.

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