Official tightlipped as pension reform plan showdown nears
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Council of Labor Affairs Minister Pan Shih-wei (潘世偉) was determined not to jump the gun before President Ma Ying-jeou takes the stage to lay out the controversial pension reform plan tomorrow.
January 29, 2013, 12:38 am TWN
Pan did not respond to inquiries over reports yesterday that a planning task force established by the Executive Yuan proposes to raise the cap for labor insurance premiums to 19.5 percent of monthly wage.
According to a report by the task force formed last October, the rate should be gradually raised to 9 percent by 2015 and then hiked annually by 0.5 percent until it reaches an upper limit of 19.5 percent by 2036.
The report will recommend setting different benchmarks sum years eligible for retirement — the number of years in service plus the age of the individuals — for different occupations.
Pan refused to comment on the reported changes, stressing that all proposals are still subject to changes and that the Executive Yuan and the Presidential Office will announce the draft of a comprehensive pension reform plan tomorrow.
The ruling Kuomintang legislative caucus said after a meeting with Vice Premier Jiang Yi-hua (江宜樺), Pan, and Minister of Civil Service Chang Che-shen (張哲琛) yesterday that President Ma will unveil his comprehensive draft pension reform plan tomorrow, apparently delaying an earlier schedule announced on Monday. While Jiang was eager to lay out the raisons d'etre of the pension reform yesterday, he was no more revealing then his colleagues on details.
In a statement released by the Executive Yuan yesterday, Jiang laid out three mean goals of pension reform: to enable the pension system's sustainable operation with enough spending power for at least the next 30 years; to ensure the public that the government will be responsible for the pension fund so everyone will get paid; and to enhance generational fairness by reducing elderly care burden for future generations.
The Ministry of Civil Service (MCS) pointed out that changes suggested by the draft will be made gradually with enough buffers and grace periods to breach the trust-protection principle.
The government will replace the preferential interest rate on special savings for civil servants who have yet to retire with a retirement pension system. The 18-percent rate cap will not be changed for public servants who retired before July 1, 1995 and those who claimed their pensions in one lump sum. Those who retired after the said date and those choosing to claim pensions in monthly payments will see their preferential interest rates changed based on the interest rates at the time, the MCS said.
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party said yesterday that the government should set an universal retirement age for workers of all professions instead on continuing the sum-year system. The pan-green Taiwan Thinktank, on the other hand, released a poll showing that 61.7 percent of the public supported to cut the 18-percent top preferential interest rate for retired public servants to below 8 percent.