Civil Servant Association slams gov't pension reform proposal
CNATAIPEI--The National Civil Servant Association said yesterday that a government plan to reform the pension plan for retired civil servants was targeting public service workers while giving their employer — the government — a free pass.
January 28, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
Chairman of the association, Li Lai-hsi, said the government plan was triggered by complaints from workers in the private sector who are worried that their retirement will be ruined by a possible bankruptcy of the labor pension fund.
“People covered by the labor pension fund are being pitted against civil servants, military personnel and public school teachers, while the two major employers — the government and business owners — are having a good time,” Li said.
Li's criticism came after President Ma Ying-jeou unveiled his administration's plan to reform the nation's pension system in such a way that workers in both the public and private sectors will have to work longer to be eligible for full retirement benefits, which will be reduced from the current level.
According to Ma, the Cabinet will send a draft bill to the Legislature soon to institute, among other things, a “rule of 90” that will go into effect in 2026. It means that a civil servant will qualify for retirement with full pension when his age and years of service add up to 90, instead of 85 as is currently the case.
For example, a civil servant who has reached the age of 65 and has been working for 25 years will be eligible for retirement with full pension. The rule may not apply to some military personnel or employees in the field of education.
The government plan is based on the calculation that raising the retirement age can save money by avoiding the need to hire new staff and delaying the payment of retirement benefits.
Li said the proposed formula is misguided because civil servants over the age of 60 usually receive high pay but are not as productive as when they were younger.
“If you put off their retirement age by two years, they will be standing in the way of young people who can be recruited into the government service,” said Li, whose association seeks to protect the rights and interests of civil servants and improve their working conditions.
Li also lambasted a government proposal to increase employees' contribution and decrease employers' share of the pension fund payments. Currently the employee contributes 35 percent and the employer 65 percent of the payment into the workers' pension fund.
But the government is trying to adjust the ratio to 50:50, Li said. “This is just an attempt to ease up on the employer (the government),” he added.
The Retired Civil Servant Association was also not happy about the government's pension reform plan, in particular about a proposal on the percentage of “retirement income replacement.”
Pan Li-yun, chairwoman of the association, said the ratio of retirement income to salary should be reduced for ranking retirees and raised for lower level retirees.