Lee gives up 18% preferential-rate pension
By Katherine Wei, The China Post
December 26, 2013, 12:13 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) yesterday denounced the 18-percent civil servant pension system as unfair and announced that he had given up his share of the pension.
The system, approved by the Cabinet this April and which may be implemented in 2016, calls for a higher premium fee, smaller pension payments and an extended retirement age, in addition to capping the income replacement rate of retired civil servants at 80 percent.
According to Lee, each infant born adds NT$900,000 to Taiwan's debt. “With the country in heavy debt over the last two years, is the additional NT$900,000 that comes with each birth normal?” asked Lee, who also mentioned his encounters with retired civil servants in foreign countries. “With their 18-percent interest rate included in the pension, they have high praise for Taiwan's retirement system.”
Although this generation has to fulfill the needs of the next, we should not affect their lives, Lee stressed. Lee's retirement from his position at Academia Sinica makes him eligible for the 18-percent interest, but he said he refused to draw his assigned portion as he found the system unfair to the younger generation.
Retired civil servants who entered the civil service prior to 1995 may place a portion of their pensions into an account that affords them an 18-percent interest rate. Civil servants who entered the civil service after 1995, however, are not entitled to the preferential treatment.
The discrepancy between the 18 percent and the actual interest rate is paid for from the national coffers. According to the Ministry of Civil Service (銓敘部), the government will have to pay out NT$2 trillion over the next 17 years.