The Ministry of Labor’s Minimum Wage Review Committee yesterday proposed raising the minimum monthly wage to NT$24,000 and the minimum hourly wage to NT$160.
The decision was reached at the committee’s annual session, with representatives from labor, management, government and academia taking part.
The committee said it would send the proposal to the Executive Yuan for approval.
The current minimum monthly wage is NT$23,800 and the minimum hourly wage is NT$158.
During yesterday’s discussion, management representatives raised concerns over economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as potential increases in health and labor insurance fees next year, the committee said.
They also cited a pessimistic economic outlook for the third and fourth quarters, and expressed hope that the wage hike discussion could be postponed to November, but the appeal was opposed by labor representatives, the committee added.
Academic representatives proposed a conditional raise, in which wages would be raised if certain set targets are met by the end of the year, but labor representatives firmly opposed the idea, Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions president Chuang Chueh-an (莊爵安) said.
After taking into consideration inflation and GDP growth, the labor representatives proposed that the minimum monthly wage be set at NT$24,100, Chuang said.
However, that figure would be higher than the NT$24,000 threshold set in the nation’s labor and health insurance schemes, meaning employers would also have to pay more for employees’ insurance fees, he said.
The labor side conceded and agreed on a monthly minimum of NT$24,000, he said.
Although the number does not meet labor’s goal of a 3 percent increase, it would be the fifth consecutive year that Taiwan would see an increase in the minimum wage, he added.
As 85 percent of companies in Taiwan are small and medium-sized enterprises, the wage hike and subsequent increases in health and labor insurance fees could lead many local companies to close, said a management representative, who declined to be named, adding that employees’ year-end and performance bonuses could decline.
Separately yesterday, a survey released by online job bank yes123 showed that 89.3 percent of workers supported a rise in the minimum monthly wage.
Of the 89.3 percent, 38.9 percent thought the minimum monthly wage should be raised to more than NT$30,000; 24.5 percent favored more than NT$25,000; and 14.8 percent supported an increase to more than NT$26,000, the poll showed.
As for the minimum hourly wage, 86 percent of respondents supported an increase, of which 38 percent said that it should be more than NT$190, 16.8 percent said it should be NT$180 and 14.9 percent said it should be more than NT$170, the poll showed.
On the employers’ side, 49.4 percent supported a monthly wage increase, and 50.6 percent opposed it; while 44.7 percent supported an increase in the minimum hourly wage, and 55.3 percent opposed it, the survey showed.
If the proposal is passed, 62.4 percent of employers said they are willingness to cooperate, while 41.7 percent said it would reduce their willingness to hire more staff, the poll showed.
Yes123 spokesperson Yang Tsung-pin (楊宗斌) said that export and import firms have both been affected by the pandemic, so they would prefer that wages be frozen.
However, the livelihood of many workers and minority groups have also been hit hard by the pandemic, with many of them having to rely on government subsidies to live, Yang said, adding that the spirit of setting a minimum wage is to guarantee a normal life for people.
The poll was conducted from July 30 to Wednesday last week via online questionnaires. It collected 1,210 valid responses from salaried employees and 935 valid responses from employers.
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