The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) encouraged workers who plan to apply for labor insurance loans to file their applications soon because the last day to apply is Friday.
This is the seventh year the council has offered loans from the National Labor Insurance Fund to low-income families to help them through the Lunar New Year holidays.
This year, the labor insurance loan program started accepting applications on Jan. 4. Council officials said this year’s loan program saw a sharp surge in submitted applications in the first three days compared with previous years.
In the three days after the Bureau of Labor Insurance began taking applications, more than 50,000 people submitted applications.
The nearly 30,000 applications on the first day was double the number of applications submitted on the first day last year.
However, after several days, the frenzy for loans cooled down. The latest statistics showed that in the two weeks after the council began taking applications, about 120,000 applications for loans were submitted. Of these, more than 40,000 were approved and the applicants have received or will soon receive payments.
Council officials urged applicants to complete the process at one of the 146 branches of the Land Bank of Taiwan before Friday’s deadline, saying the council will not accept late applications.
The council has set aside a budget of NT$20 billion (US$629 million) for the loans this year, which means that up to 200,000 applicants could benefit from the fund. Council officials said that based on current trends, the budget would not need to be expanded because it is estimated that it will be enough to cover loans for all approved applicants.
Applicants who have participated in the national labor insurance program for at least 15 years with no unpaid debt to the insurance program can apply for a loan of up to NT$100,000, with an annual interest rate of 1.35 percent.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Insurance reported that the number of workers insured under the national labor insurance program has recently risen at a quicker-than-expected rate.
About 9 million workers were insured as of the end of October, a peak that was reached three months ahead of official estimates.
The bureau cited several reasons for the faster-than-expected growth, including a recent policy that requires workers holding more than one job to be insured for every job, as well as general growth in the workforce.
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