Sat, Jun 17, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Draft to ban pension for retirees on high-paid jobs

NO TO FAT CATS:The draft article would deny pension to retired public servants if they accept jobs at state-run agencies that would pay them above the minimum wage

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Legislative caucuses yesterday passed a draft article barring retired public servants working at state-run agencies or foundations from receiving pensions should their salaries at those establishments exceed the minimum wage.

The draft initiated by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) targets double-salaried “fat cats,” thereby ensuring fairness in the pension system, DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said during a cross-caucus negotiation to review a pension reform bill.

Citing as an example basic civil servants of the fifth pay grade, Tuan said they are paid a monthly salary of NT$53,340 when they reach retirement age.

They would be able to receive a monthly pension of about NT$41,000, which translates to an income replacement ratio of 77 percent, he said.

If retired civil servants are to receive pensions, they should not accept job offers at state-run agencies that promise them salaries above the minimum wage — currently set at NT$21,009 — adding that this would prevent former civil servants from occupying vacancies at these agencies, he said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alisha Wang (王育敏) defended the version proposed by KMT Legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩), which says retired civil servants would be denied pensions if they choose to work for government-funded agencies that pay them up to 50 percent of what they had been paid at their former jobs, allowing them to earn more in retirement.

Tuan disagreed, saying: “The lower the bottom limit, the fairer the system.”

Seeing that no more objections were filed, Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) announced that the bill is to proceed to second reading.

Meanwhile, a motion by the New Power Party (NPP) that says civil pensions should be split equally between couples in case of a divorce or when the spouse who worked as a public servant is deceased also proceeded to second reading.

To be eligible to apply, an applicant must have also reached retirement age, the draft said.

Applicants who have been through more than one divorce would only be able to receive their share in relation to the pensions their former partners were paid during each marriage, it said, adding that the rule does not apply to consensual divorces.

NPP Legislator Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸) said that if passed, the draft would likely benefit housewives who are excluded from the labor and civil pensions systems.

NPP Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said that several women’s rights groups have called for the rule to be established since 2005, when the legislature was reviewing drafts on equitable distribution in case of divorce.

However, discussion of the draft had been stalled as lawmakers at the time believed that the issue should be dealt with as part of pension reform, he said.

Huang said the US, Japan and Germany have implemented similar rules and lobbied the caucuses’ support.

The draft gained nonpartisan support, with Su — who praised the NPP for tendering a “progressive” draft — ruling that the draft is to be deliberated in second reading.

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