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May 1, 2017

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Indonesia to seek higher pay for its domestic workers in Taiwan

JAKARTA -- Indonesian labor authorities are planning to raise the issue of higher monthly wages for their country's migrant domestic workers in Taiwan with effect from next year to bring them closer to the minimum wage.

Agusdin Subiantoro, deputy director of Indonesia's Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers, told CNA in an interview earlier this week that the request will be made in light of the significant gap between the wages of migrant domestic caregivers and factory workers.

Currently, Indonesian domestic caregivers in Taiwan earn NT$17,000 (US$543) per month, while migrant factory workers are paid around NT$21,009 in line with Taiwan's monthly minimum wage, which was increased this year from NT$20,008, Agusdin said.

He said the Indonesian government is seeking to narrow that gap and will ask Taiwan to raise the monthly wage of Indonesian home helpers and domestic caregivers to NT$19,000 with effect from next year.

The Taiwan government raises the minimum wage almost every year, Agusdin noted, adding that factory workers and caregivers in institutions are covered by that labor regulation, but not domestic workers.

Indonesia, therefore, will raise the issue this year during its meeting with Taiwan on labor affairs and will take a firm stance, he said.

Meanwhile, Soes Hindarno, director of the Indonesian agency, expressed hope that Indonesian fishery workers in Taiwan will also be paid better, more in line with the minimum wage.

Taiwan should also seek to improve the working conditions for migrant fishery workers, Soes said.

As of 2016, Indonesia was the largest source of migrant workers in Taiwan, accounting for 245,180 of the total 624,768, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Labor.

The data showed that nearly 80 percent, or around 170,000, of the foreign caregivers in Taiwan were Indonesians.

In August 2015, Taiwan and Indonesia agreed to raise the minimum monthly pay of Indonesian domestic workers from NT$15,840 to NT$17,000.

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