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June 27, 2017

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Labor Ministry looks to forbid some retirees from taking lump sums

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Labor (MOL) is seeking to revise the retirement benefits law to deny a big portion of retired laborers the option of taking out all their pensions in one single payment.

An ambiguity in the current law seems to give two options to retirees who have worked 15 years or more: a monthly payment till death or a lump sum upon retirement.

But the MOL is seeking to revise the law to get rid of the ambiguity. It seeks to have the law clearly state that retirees in this group can only receive monthly payments.

There is another group of retirees: those who retire after working for less than 15 years and who can only choose to receive the lump sum. The MOL's proposed revisions do not make any changes concerning this group.

The MOL argues that the monthly payments will better protect retirees from wasting all their money on poor investments or from manipulation by others. The monthly payments will make sure that the retirees will have regular incomes to support their retirement life.

The MOL has actually been giving monthly payments to the groups that worked 15 plus years, despite labor activists' constant call for the ministry to implement the lump sum option seemingly implied by the law.

In 2011, Jennifer Wang, then head of the MOL's predecessor, the Council of Labor Affairs, promised to revise the law to implement the lump sum option.

But the MOL is now determined to ignore the labor activists' call and Wang's promise.

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