A new baseline pension should be passed to guarantee the rights of women and other disadvantaged groups, rights advocates said yesterday, as the Legislative Yuan prepares to begin an extraordinary session next week to address pension reform.
More than 20 people from civic groups such as the Awakening Foundation and Taiwan Higher Education Union gathered outside the side gates of the legislative compound, calling for retirement guarantees and the realization of redistributive justice.
“The current pension system is mainly built on the premise that people will be employed, and receive promotions and wage increases until they retire. However, that premise is male-oriented and ignores the fact that women often have gaps in their employment, because they are forced to act as caregivers to children, older people and disabled people,” Awakening Foundation secretary-general Chyn Yu-rong (覃玉蓉) said.
Women on average receive only 66 to 88 percent of the national labor insurance payments men receive upon retirement, depending on the payment system used, Chyn said.
The national labor insurance is divided into “old” and “new” systems, with workers using the “old system” allowed to withdraw a lump sum upon retirement.
There needs to be a minimum monthly payment of NT$8,000 available to all citizens upon retirement to avoid replicating the inequities of the workplace, she said, blaming the prevalence of employment gaps among women on the government’s failure to establish public systems to care for children and older people.
“If we put all of the burden of providing for older people on individuals and families, where is the guaranteed economic security going to come from for disadvantaged groups like family caregivers, nontraditional labor, part-time workers, single parent families and those who become unemployed during middle age?” Awakening Foundation senior researcher Tseng Chao-yuan (曾昭媛) said, adding that statistics showed that 44.6 percent of female senior citizens receive their support mainly from their children and grandchildren.
More than 46 percent of retirees only receive a monthly pension from the National Pension Fund — which averages NT$3,791 — rather than the Labor Insurance Fund — which averages NT$16,179 — because they do not possess the necessary seniority in terms of years worked to be eligible for the more substantial payment, she said.
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