Taiwan's monthly minimum wage to increase by 5% in 2019

Taiwan's monthly minimum wage to increase by 5%, while hourly wage to rise by 7.14% on Jan. 1, 2019

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The monthly minimum wage will officially be increased by 5 percent next year, while the hourly minimum wage will rise by 7.14 percent, announced Ministry of Labor yesterday (Sept. 5) following the Executive Yuan’s approval of the salary increases. 

Based on the recommendation of MOL's Basic Wage Deliberation Committee, the current hourly minimum wage of NT$140 (US$4.54) is to be raised by 7.14 percent to NT$150 (US$4.86) per hour, while the current monthly minimum wage of NT$22,000 (US$714) is to increased it by 5 percent to NT$23,100 (US$749) per month. The changes are to take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

The committee which made the decision on the amounts of the wage hikes 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. 

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 the 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.