As the Executive Yuan’s Labor Insurance Fund reform proposal is listed on the legislative agenda this week, the government should try to close the gap between the maximum insurance salary and the minimum monthly pensions of civil servants and private-sector workers, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.
“The fundamental goal of the reform should be the elimination of occupational differences and generational differences,” lawmakers Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) told a press conference.
The lawmakers jointly submitted a three-point proposal: Raise the maximum insurance salary for private-sector workers, which is now NT$43,900; exclude private-sector retirees who receive a monthly pension of less than NT$32,160, which is the minimum monthly payment for retired civil servants, from the current reform package; and establishe a uniform starting year of the reform plan for both public-sector and private-sector workers.
In terms of calculations of retirement pensions, the gap between the two groups has been astonishing, which was exactly why the pension reform has drawn controversy, Wu said.
Private-sector workers’ maximum insurance salary pales in comparison to civil servants, she said, adding that civil servants also have their basic salary doubled as the calculation base, further widening the pension gap.
Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has set the minimum monthly pension for civil servants at NT$32,160, citing a Council of Grand Justices interpretation that said it would be the income for retirees to “maintain the minimum standard of living,” the minimum monthly pension for private-sector workers is NT$3,000, less than one-tenth of the civil servants’, Chen said.
“We have argued that the income for retirees to maintain the minimum standard of living should be the same regardless of your occupation,” Chen said.
Therefore, retired private-sector workers receiving less than NT$32,160 per month should not be included in the current reform plan, which is about to reduce private-sectors retirees’ pension, he said.
The lawmakers called for the government to halt its plan for an immediate implementation of the Labor Insurance Fund reform, saying that it was unfair because public-sector workers would not have to face shrinking pensions until 2023.
“Again, fairness is the keyword here. A reform plan without fairness and justice would neither be welcomed nor successful,” Chen said.