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Premier gives nod to minimum wage hike

2019-08-16  English News
Photo courtesy of CNA
Photo courtesy of CNA
Taipei, Aug. 15 (CNA) Premier Su Tseng-chang announced Thursday through the messaging app Line that Taiwan's minimum monthly wage will be raised to NT$23,800 (US$759), while the minimum hourly wage will go up to NT$158, starting Jan. 1, 2020.

The announcement came after a Ministry of Labor (MOL) committee decided the previous day to increase Taiwan's minimum monthly wage by 3 percent from NT$23,100 to NT$23,800, and the minimum hourly wage by 5 percent from NT$150 to NT$158. The hike still has to be formally approved by the Executive Yuan.

Su said once the hike goes into effect, 1.36 million domestic workers are expected to benefit from the increase of the minimum monthly wage, while raising the minimum hourly wage to NT$158 per hour will boost the pay for 500,000 workers.

Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen said that the rise will mark the fourth minimum wage hike since she took office in May 2016. The four hikes will represent an accumulated rise of NT$3,792 in the minimum monthly wage and NT$38 in the minimum hourly pay.

In comparison, under the Kuomintang (KMT) administration from 2008-2016, the monthly minimum wage was raised by an accumulative NT$2,728, while the minimum hourly pay increased by NT$25, Tsai noted.

The president said her idea is simple, adding that she wants to share the fruits of economic growth with the people through tax cuts and salary hikes to reduce the financial burden on young people and workers.

Also Thursday, Republic of China General Chamber of Commerce Vice Chairman Hsu Shu-po called on the government to enact a minimum wage law that takes into account various components, including consumer prices and economic growth, in the calculation of the minimum wage.

Hsu also said the government should not let minimum monthly wage hike levels become a political tool or a bone of contention between management and employees.

Since 2011, the minimum monthly wage has risen by 30 percent, while the minimum hourly wage has increased by 50 percent, Hsu said, adding that if the government insists on continuing to raise the minimum wage, it could boost commodity prices, push up the cost of living, reduce real purchasing power and affect domestic demand.

Labor groups, meanwhile, have welcomed the fourth consecutive annual increase, saying government-led wage adjustment is the only chance many workers have of receiving a pay hike.