Teachers’ advocacy groups on Friday celebrated the passage of the Teachers’ Compensation Act (教師待遇條例), which stipulates unified standard wages for teachers at public as well as private institutions.
In a dramatic turn of events, a controversial clause in the bill was amended at the last moment, averting a proposed measure that critics said would have slashed salaries for lecturers at private institutions by more than half — from NT$68,990 to NT$29,345.
The much-maligned clause, Article 17, originally stipulated that academic research fees among public university lecturers “may apply” to their counterparts at private universities as well, leading critics to disparage the act as enabling private institutions to reduce salaries.
Following a series of protests, it was later revised at interparty caucus negotiations on Thursday to require regulations at public universities to be applied to private institutions as well.
Although the bill provides private institutions the ability to adjust wages, it prohibits any changes without consent from union representatives.
The Taiwan Higher Education Union, which spearheaded a prolonged campaign to demand equal pay among lecturers at public and private institutions, said in a statement that the bill was a positive step in protecting the rights of lecturers.
“The revision allowed lecturers at private institutions to remain free from the threat of being arbitrarily stripped of their academic research fees, establishing protection of regular wages among lecturers,” the union said.
The revised act, which received bipartisan support at the legislature, would provide a legal basis for salaries, research fees and various bonuses for all lecturers and stipulates related fines for schools that fail to comply.
If a private institution fails to provide wages to its employees, the bill would hold members of the school’s board of directors responsible, with each violation warranting a fine of between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000.
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