Thu, Sep 10, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Candidates running for president urged to reform pensions

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Activists from a range of labor and welfare groups yesterday announced the establishment of an “Annuity Pension Reform Alliance,” demanding that presidential candidates commit to reforming national annuity pension systems.

The groups’ demands included that the candidates refrain from making empty promises to increase benefits and establish a “consultation platform” that would allow open and transparent discussion with civic groups.

“If there are no changes, we will probably go from having annuity pensions to not having them, because the nation probably would not be able to stand the pressure,” Taiwan Labor Front secretary-general Son Yu-liam (孫友聯) said, calling on candidates to make a credible commitment to reform, instead of just “buying votes” with promises to increase benefits.

National retirement benefits are currently provided by five separate pension funds. While benefits to the general population are provided through the National Pension and Labor Pension funds, retired military personnel, civil servants and public-school teachers each have their own separate funds. In addition, retired farmers also receive monthly allowances from the national budget.

“Political and economic conditions, population trends, national finances and the outlook for economic growth all indicate that the a nation can no longer support the pension annuity system in its present form,” National Taiwan University sociology professor Fu Tsung-hsi (傅從喜) said.

The Alliance for Fair Tax Reform convener Wang Jung-chang (王榮璋) said that the pension fund for military personnel looks set to go bankrupt in 2019, with the labor and public-school teacher pension funds going bankrupt in 2027, and the civil servant fund in 2031.

He called for the review and reform of the different pension funds to be linked, with the goal of more closely integrating the funds to accommodate the inevitable cuts.

The different pension funds provide greatly disparate “guarantees” of financial security to retirees, he said. While the pensions for military personnel, civil servants and public-school teachers are equal to between 80 percent to 90 percent of their salaries, benefits offered by the Labor Pension are equal to only 60 percent of workers’ salaries, he said.

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