Fri, Jun 15, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Teachers could retire en masse, KMT cautions

JUST MORE CUTS:The KMT said conditions on payouts to teachers hired after 1995 were slipped through under the guise of pension reform as a cost-cutting measure

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Alex Fai, left, and Johnny Chiang, right, yesterday clasp hands in a show of unity as the party’s legislative caucus elected its whip in Taipei.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

An amendment passed in June last year that stipulates a one-year window for retiring public-school teachers hired after 1995 to claim compensation could prompt a wave of retirements, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers said yesterday, urging the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus to retract the legislation.

The source of contention is Article 34 of the Act Governing Retirement, Severance, and Bereavement Compensation for the Teaching and Other Staff Members of Public Schools (公立學校教職員退休資遣撫卹條例), which, when coupled with measures set out by the Ministry of Education for the pension cuts, would require public-school teachers who were hired after 1995 and meet the conditions for retirement to claim the compensation within one year of the amendments’ implementation — before July 1 next year — or forfeit the compensation.

When pension cuts for public-school teachers were reviewed in committee, the KMT lawmakers urged their DPP peers to retract the draft legislation, as imposing a window for qualified teachers to claim the compensation would be unfair to teachers hired after 1995, when the “new” pension system took effect, KMT Legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) told a news conference in Taipei.

The “new” pension system for civil servants and public-school teachers implemented in 1995 cancelled the 18 percent preferential interest rate for some savings accounts and required that the government and would-be claimants jointly contribute toward a “pension fund.”

New civil servants and teachers at the time were required to pay a monthly fee from their salaries and forgo the preferential interest rate, while their predecessors’ pensions were solely financed by the government and continued to be eligible for the rate.

However, the DPP caucus refused to reconsider the KMT’s proposal, with the Ministry of Civil Service saying at the time that if all faculty members employed from 1995 onwards were to claim the compensation, it would lead to an additional burden to the government of NT$30 billion (US$1 billion) over 20 years, Ko said.

The DPP should not use the pension reform for civil servants and public-school teachers as a pretext to create conditions for claiming the compensation, KMT Legislator John Wu (吳志揚) said, adding that it contravenes the principle of legitimate expectation and could prompt a wave of retirements.

The KMT caucus had to make strenuous efforts to secure a slot for its motion to amend the article to be reviewed during the current provisional session, KMT Legislator Chiang Nai-hsin (蔣乃辛) said.

He urged DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康), who cochairs the Judiciary and Organic Laws Committee with Wu, to schedule a review of the KMT’s proposal before July 1 or yield the right to schedule such a review to Wu, so the problem could be fixed before the new pension system takes effect.

In related news, KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) yesterday became the new KMT caucus whip after beating KMT Legislator Alex Fai (費鴻泰), who was widely perceived as the candidate preferred by KMT headquarters, by two votes in a caucus election, while KMT Legislator Wu became the KMT caucus deputy secretary-general after his rival, KMT Legislator Arthur Chen (陳宜民), withdrew from the election.

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