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Taiwanese netizens envious of migrant laborer's paycheck

Discussion driven by claim locals do not get rewarded for overtime work

A factory in Yilan County where migrant laborers work. 

A factory in Yilan County where migrant laborers work.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A migrant laborer’s payslip has been doing the rounds on Taiwanese social media recently, prompting fierce discussion among netizens who showed envy at the salary figure it revealed.

The sum — which exceeded NT$60,000 (US$2,170) — at first surprised some locals, who thought it unusually high for a migrant worker. However, as the discussion thread continued, many began to conclude that it is to be expected, saying Taiwanese workers rarely get paid for overtime, NOWNews reported.

The slip, which is dated March 2021, shows the individual worked 22 days, the minimum salary being NT$26,500. Yet tacking on his various bonuses as well as overtime pay, it reached a total of NT$62,709.

In fact, the “overtime” was what made all the difference, with the slip showing 32 working days. Shocked netizens on discussion forum PPT shared their reactions:

“What amazing industriousness! His pay is higher than most Taiwanese salaries. Are migrant laborers more productive than Taiwanese?”

“How can the pay be higher than locals'?”

“People are foolish to discriminate against these migrant workers, especially if they have beaten Taiwanese on pay.”

Others questioned whether Taiwanese workers can only take two or three days off per month like migrant workers can. Many were impressed by the worker’s diligence and concluded that it was all thanks to excessive overtime hours, probably including Sundays too.

PPT users began lamenting that this is “Taiwanese society’s status quo,” saying that no matter how late locals work, they cannot escape the rising living costs and steep housing prices. Yet by comparison, migrant workers can work hard in Taiwan for one year and enjoy life in their home country for 10, they claimed.

More comments include:

“I wouldn’t break NT$60,000 even if I worked 40 extra hours a month.”

“I’ve heard of migrant workers who bought a house in their home country after being in Taiwan just five years.”

“We work for 10 years and cannot even afford to buy a toilet.”

“How many Taiwanese never get paid even if they work overtime?”

“Migrant workers are willing to work hard. We shouldn’t be surprised.”

Updated : 2022-05-27 21:05 GMT+08:00