Representatives of university adjunct faculty and assistants protested outside the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday, accusing it of inaction as universities ignored a law requiring that all employees be covered by the National Health Insurance (NHI) program.
Most universities in the nation have failed to enroll adjunct or part-time faculty and teaching and research assistants in the insurance program as stipulated in the National Health Insurance Act (全民健康保險法), the Taiwan Higher Education Union said, adding that these part-time employees can only join the health program either by registering as an “unemployed worker” in their district offices or through their parents or spouses.
“What’s worse is that with the second-generation NHI system taking effect, adjunct teachers now have to pay a 2 percent supplementary premium,” union secretary-general Chen Cheng-liang (陳政亮) said.
Photo: Wei Yi-chia, Taipei Times
The 2 percent supplementary premium rate is imposed on each NT$5,000 an insured person earns from any of the following six sources: moonlighting, rent, interest, stock dividends, professional practice and performance bonus if the amount is four times more than the monthly salary.
As a result, an adjunct teacher who teaches at five universities and earns NT$41,580 per month has to pay a monthly premium of NT$1,534 — an amount that is equivalent to the rate paid by a regular employee earning NT$105,600 per month, the union said.
“Since on average I earn more than NT$5,000 per month from each university I work at, each of my income is subject to the 2 percent supplementary premium rate,” said Hsu Wen-lu (徐文路), an adjunct assistant professor.
According to a survey conducted by the union earlier this year, 132 of the nation’s 166 universities and colleges refuse to enrol adjunct teachers in the NHI program.
Specifically, 27 of the 55 public universities and colleges have failed to comply with this obligation, with another 12 “conditionally” insuring non-tenured teachers, contingent upon whether the department is sufficiently funded, the union cited National Taiwan University as saying.
The union said that while investigating the issue, many of the universities and colleges surveyed excused themselves by citing an interpretative rule issued by the DOH in 1995, which states that only when an employee’s workweek exceeds 12 hours will the employer be obligated to enroll them in the NHI program.
The union said the interpretative rule was a “violation” of the law, citing Lin Chia-ho (林佳和), an assistant professor at National Chengchi University’s College of Law.
“The status of tenured or non-tenured or full-time or part-time does not affect the fact that the schools are, under the law, the employers of the adjunct faculty and assistants. The interpretative rule contradicts the NHI Act, creating an exclusion clause that is not written in the law, which renders it an illegitimate legal interpretation,” said Lin.
OFFLINE: People who do not wish to register can get the money from select ATMs using their bank card, ID number and National Health Insurance card number Online registration for NT$6,000 (US$196.32) cash payments drawn from last year’s tax surplus is to open today for eligible people whose national ID or permanent residency number ends in either a zero or a one, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. Officials from the ministry revealed which days Taiwanese and eligible foreigners would be able to register for the cash payments at a joint news conference with the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Online registration is to open tomorrow for those whose number ends in a two or three; on Friday for those that end in a four or five: on Saturday
TECH PROGRAM: A US official said that an important part of the delegation’s trip would be to meet with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co executives The US is to send officials in charge of chip development to Taiwan, Japan and South Korea to promote cooperation in the global semiconductor supply chain, the US Department of Commerce said on Tuesday. Chips Program Office Director Michael Schmidt announced the visit, which marks the first time officials from the office are to visit the three nations since it was set up in September last year. “As semiconductors and technologies continue to evolve, the United States will keep working with allies and partners to develop coordinated strategies to ensure that malign actors cannot use the latest technologies to undermine our collective
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) officials are investigating why a Starlux Airlines flight to Penang, Malaysia, returned to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport nearly two hours after takeoff yesterday morning. The airline said in a statement that Flight JX721 to Penang took off from Taoyuan airport at 9:20am. “After the dashboard showed a signal of an abnormality in the hydraulic system, the captain followed standard operating procedures and returned the flight to Taoyuan airport for safety precautions,” the airline said, adding that the flight landed safely at the airport at 11:04am. The airline arranged for the passengers to have lunch after the flight landed and
WORKING UP AN APPETITE: Sales at the Rueifong Night Market surged 20 to 30 percent, while seats at Liouhe Night Market were packed until 1am, market officials said South Korean pop band Blackpink’s concerts over the weekend in Kaohsiung helped draw large crowds to local night markets, the Kaohsiung City Government said yesterday. The two concerts on Saturday and Sunday at Kaohsiung National Stadium drew more than 90,000 people. The city government offered NT$50 vouchers to spend locally to concertgoers who showed their ticket stubs. Liouhe Night Market (六合夜市) management committee head Chuang Chi-chang (莊其章) said that crowds over the weekend surged at about 10pm and the market remained packed until 1:30am. “Almost all the seats were filled,” Chuang said. Night market stall owners had stocked up in expectation of an increased number