Taiwan to raise hourly wage by 7% to NT$150

Taiwan to raise hourly wage by 7% to NT$150 and monthly minimum wage by 5% to NT$23,100

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan's hourly minimum wage is to be increased by over 7 percent, while the monthly minimum wage is to be hiked by 5 percent, pending approval by the Executive Yuan, announced the Ministry of Labor (MOL) yesterday (Aug. 16).

The current hourly minimum wage, which was set in September 2017, is NT$140 (US$4.54) and the MOL proposal is to raise it by 7.14 percent to NT$150 (US$4.86) per hour, while the current monthly minimum wage is NT$22,000 (US$714) and the MOL has called to increase it by 5 percent to NT$23,100 (US$749) per month.

The decision to raise the salary rates in Taiwan was made by a committee convened by the MOL which included labor leaders, business representatives and government officials. The committee plans to meet in the third quarter each year to discuss any further increases in wages. 

To become law, the proposal still needs the approval of the Executive Yuan, which comes in the form of a signature by Premier William Lai (賴清德). Based on Lai's comments during a TV interview with CTS on Aug. 15 stating that given Taiwan's recent economic growth, increases to the minimum wage should not be unexpected, it appears he would be open to approving the pay raise. 

Labor groups were not entirely satisfied with the committee's decision, with some originally wanting the minimum monthly salary to be increased to NT$28,862 (US$936), and for the hourly wage to increase to NT$182 (US$5.90), reported CNA. Chang Hsu-cheng (張旭政), president of the National Federation of Teachers Unions, told CNA that labor representatives during the meeting lowered their request to a 7 percent increase in the monthly wage to NT$23,540 (US$765), but when it was not met, they stormed out of the meeting at 6:20 p.m.

However, they were persuaded to return, and the committee eventually agreed to the NT$23,100 figure. Chang said representatives were frustrated because economic rival South Korea had recently approved a 10 percent raise for its workers and the economy of Taiwan has been growing well this year, thus they felt a 7 percent raise would have been more than reasonable. 

Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions Chairman Chuang Chueh-an (莊爵安), a member of the committee, told UDN Taiwan's economic growth rate has averaged 2.45 percent from 2011 to 2017, which is much higher than the 1.41 percent average for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Yet, he said Taiwan's basic monthly wage is 43 percent lower than the OECD average rate of US$1,084. 

In accordance with the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), foreign workers in Taiwan will also receive a potential pay raise. 

Since the Tsai has taken office, her administration has raised the minimum wage for two years in a row representing an over 10 percent increase over that period. Once the new pay hike goes into effect, 1.69 million laborers (including 1.24 Taiwanese workers and 450,000 foreign workers) and 390,000 part-time workers, or a total of 2.08 million are expected to benefit.