Thu, May 16, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Requiring donations from social workers forbidden: minister

SWIFT PUNISHMENTS:Hsueh Jui-yuan said that if such cases are confirmed, government contracts with and funding to infringing institutions would be cut

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Hsueh Jui-yuan answers lawmakers’ questions at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Demanding that social workers donate part of their salaries back to social welfare institutions is not allowed and punishment would be imposed if such cases are reported, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Hsueh Jui-yuan (薛瑞元) said yesterday.

Hsueh made the remark at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei when asked about a case that was exposed in Pingtung County earlier this month.

The Kaohsiung Social Worker Union on Saturday on Facebook cited a social worker as saying that the social welfare institution they work for in Pingtung had demanded that they make compulsory “donations,” adding that they had donated more than NT$220,000 in the past year, or about NT$18,000 per month.

The Pingtung County Government on Tuesday said demanding that social workers “donate back” their salaries for charity is illegal, adding that if such cases are confirmed, contracts with and funding to the institution would be terminated.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Arthur Chen (陳宜民) yesterday said that if the social worker only earned NT$30,000 per month, the monthly compulsory donation would pose a serious problem for them.

“Demanding donations from salaries to institutions is not allowed,” Hsueh said.

The institution has been asked to provide more details, he said, adding that if the situation is confirmed, government contracts with and funding to the institution should be terminated, while the donations would be returned to the social worker.

Asked by KMT Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) how the Ministry of Health and Welfare could help prevent such incidents, Hsueh said that it would remind institutions not to demand donations and encourage social workers to report such situations through the ministry’s anonymous reporting platform.

Chiang suggested that the central government first wire funding for social welfare institutions into employees’ accounts, saying that would avoid the problem.

That would be difficult, Hsueh said, but added that the ministry would look into the feasibility of the suggestion.

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