Sun, May 29, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Union calls for action over working teachers’ pensions

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

The Act Governing the Retirement of School Faculty and Staff (學校教職員退休條例) should be amended to eliminate double-income “fat-cats” as the government and lawmakers consider pension reforms, union activists said yesterday.

“We hope that if the new administration is serious about pension reforms, they will give this element priority instead of leaving it out,” said Lo Te-shui (羅德水), director of the National Federation of Teachers Union’s publicity department, calling for amendments to slash the pensions of public-school teachers, professors and officials who take new jobs at private schools following their official retirement.

“It is not that you cannot work after retirement — but if you do, some of your pension should be stopped,” he said, adding that the union’s draft legislation would cut pensions by 65 percent for those taking new jobs with salaries equal to more than half of their original salaries for the period they are employed.

The percentage represents the government subsidy proportion of pensions, because only 35 percent of pension contributions are deducted from teacher’s salaries, he said, adding that the amendments were necessary to close “revolving door” loopholes for Ministry of Education officials.

“Revolving-door rules restrict public officials from taking jobs in profit-making enterprises within two or three years of retirement, but private schools are not for profit, so they are exempt from the restrictions,” he said. “However, private-school interests are closely connected with the ministry because they receive substantial government subsidies, with the ministry determining how much individual schools are allocated.”

Professors and teachers should also not occupy posts that could be taken by young people, as schools downsize in the face of falling student numbers, he said.

Pension reform is one of the key priorities of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), with details of a pension reform committee to draft proposals prior to a special national congress to be announced this week.

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