Taiwan employers ask for slowdown in basic wage increases

Continuing hikes of the minimum wage are reportedly causing difficulties for Taiwan’s employers

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(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s labor authorities are being urged to constrain the minimum wage rise to within 3 percent this year, as the island nation’s employers tear their hair out over increased personnel costs.

Hsin Ping-lung (辛炳隆), an associate professor at National Taiwan University Graduate Institute of National Development, noted that a rise of 3 percent is tolerable for the corporate world, but advised against an increase of more than 5 percent, reported UDN. A wage adjustment meeting has been set for Aug. 14 by the Ministry of Labor (MOL).

Taiwan has hiked both the monthly and hourly minimum wages over the past three years at, respectively, around 5 percent and, 5 percent to 7 percent. “The island’s small- and medium-sized enterprises will struggle to survive if the trend continues this year,” cautioned Li Yu-chia (李育家), President of the National Association of Small & Medium Enterprises.

The General Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan has called for a freeze on basic wages, given the expected impact on the tourism industry from the Chinese ban on individual travelers to Taiwan. Hsin Ping-lung opposes the idea, however, saying he believes a rise in wages will spur private consumption, said the report.

While a “moderate” rise in wages is to be expected this year, Li urged the government to implement supporting measures that help businesses cope, through tax breaks or other policies. He also voiced a wish, purportedly shared by many company owners, to decouple the arrangement of minimum wage rises for local and emigrant workers, wrote UDN.