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Pension bonuses to be reconsidered each year: Taiwan Premier

Pension bonuses to be reconsidered each year: Taiwan Premier

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Premier Sean Chen said Tuesday the contested year-end bonuses for retired government employees had to be reconsidered each year as long as there was no legal basis.
After protests that the payments were too generous in times of economic crisis, Chen announced last week that they would be restricted to retirees drawing less than NT$20,000 (US$683) a month and to victims of professional accidents or their relatives.
The news that the restriction was only applicable to this year provoked accusations that the government was insincere about its intentions to limit the cost of the system.
It could be discussed whether the bonuses should be paid out next year, Chen told lawmakers. The decision not to go ahead with the payments at the end of this year was motivated by the poor condition of Taiwan’s economy, he said, adding that next year the government should also consider how the economic environment was developing.
Opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Yao Wen-chih accused the government of leaving open a back door to continue with payments that had no basis in laws. He said Chen had only acted because of public indignation at the payments, and was looking to go back on his word once media attention diminished.
The premier said that in 1974, around the time of the first global oil crisis, the government had not paid the year-end pension bonuses to civil servants either. Therefore it was reasonable to use economic circumstances as a basic criterium to decide whether the government should pay the bonuses or not, he said.
DPP lawmaker Chiu Chih-wei accused Chen of lacking determination to reform unjust practices and of flip-flopping his way through key policies. He also suggested that the bonuses would be paid out in full again ahead of the 2014 local elections and the 2016 presidential election.
The original system, applicable to an estimated 445,000 retirees, cost the taxpayer about NT$20 billion (US$683 million) a year. Under the new formula for this year, the bonuses would cost the treasury NT$1 billion (US$34 million) or less than one tenth of the original amount, Chen said.
Critics have accused the government of pandering to group traditionally supporting the ruling Kuomintang at election time. The DPP called for the abolition of subsidies and bonuses not stipulated by the law.
Supporters of the extra pension payments said they amounted to a promise by the government, which would see its reputation of trustworthiness irreparably damaged if it cut the bonuses.


Updated : 2021-04-11 23:30 GMT+08:00