Sun, May 13, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Lai to unveil birth rate, salary policies

EXPANSION:An additional 90,000 families are to be included in the amended child-rearing subsidy program, and give eligible families a subsidy of possibly NT$3,500 for a third child

By Lee Hsin-fang and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Premier William Lai (賴清德) is next week to announce the government’s policies for countering the nation’s low birth rate and low salaries, and to discuss its immigration policy, an anonymous source said yesterday.

He is tomorrow to announce an expansion of the child-rearing subsidy — a monthly program that gives NT$2,500 to families with children up to age two — with the program to include an additional 90,000 families, the source said.

Under the current program, only families that pay less than 20 percent of their income in taxes and have one unemployed parent are eligible to receive the subsidy.

Under the expanded program, dual-income and single-parent families that have children looked after by a grandparent or another family member and have not received childcare subsidies would be eligible, the source said.

Given the nation’s financial state, families who pay more than 20 percent of their income in taxes would remain ineligible, they added.

Together with the government’s financial agencies, Minister Without Portfolio Lin Wan-i (林萬億) is tomorrow to calculate the precise number of people who would benefit from the child-rearing subsidy and the amount of money that the program would require, they said.

While eligible families would still receive NT$2,500 per month for each of their first two children, the monthly subsidy for the third child might be raised to NT$3,500, the source said, adding that details are to be confirmed tomorrow.

Taking Tainan’s policy of subsidizing its residents’ private preschool fees by NT$20,000 to NT$70,000 per year as a reference, the government is reportedly planning on providing various subsidy amounts to families with children enrolled in private preschools, depending on the cost of living for different areas, they said.

It is also planning to raise the monthly starting salary of teachers at private preschools who want to be integrated into the public childcare system to NT$29,000, they said.

To raise salaries, the government is to suggest an increase in the minimum hourly wage — currently NT$140 — to the Ministry of Labor, the source said, adding that an estimated 400,000 part-time workers would benefit from a raise.

The ministry is in charge of deciding whether to raise the wage and by how much, they added.

As the monthly minimum wage — currently NT$22,000 — is too controversial, the government will not make further adjustments for now, the source said.

The government also plans to increase hourly wages for part-time teachers at public and private universities, and substitute teachers at elementary and junior-high schools, the source said.

Lai is also to announce a new economic immigration draft act, which could give middle and high-skilled foreign workers more time to apply for permanent residency, the source said, adding that the draft is expected to be reviewed at the next legislative session.

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