Ministry mulling regionally based minimum wages
By Ted Chen ,The China Post
May 8, 2014, 12:02 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Minister of Labor Pan Shih-wei (潘世偉) yesterday announced that experts will be called in to discuss the feasibility of devising varied guidelines for the minimum wage based on each geographical district of Taiwan.
Pan aims to establish a basis of reference for future adjustments to the minimum wage for each region to gauge the degree of change required to keep up with differences in cost of living throughout Taiwan.
Currently, guidelines dictate that the minimum wage remain homogenous throughout Taiwan, a condition that many governing bodies wish to remedy, said Pan. Pan stated that while northern Taiwan wishes to raise the minimum wage, this sentiment may not be shared by employers residing in southern Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the Council of Labor Affairs ruled in 2010 that the workforce in Taiwan is too small to warrant segregated minimum wage guidelines.
Amid rising costs of living and stagnating wages, a disparity in income remains between northern and southern Taiwan. In addressing the current woes of Taiwanese laborers, Pan stated that the ministry will forge ahead with last year's decision to raise the monthly minimum wage to NT$19,273 which will take effect on July 1. Pan however, stated that a minimum wage hike for southern Taiwan remains unlikely due to the relatively lower costs of living for the region, while increases in the north are of a higher possibility.
Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin yesterday reiterated his call to decouple minimum wage adjustments from costs of living indicators requiring a 3-percent rise in the consumer price index to take effect. Hau suggested that the hourly wages be raised to NT$133, and minimum monthly wages be raised to NT$22,639, the same terms that have been offered to Taipei City Government employees since the beginning of this Month.
Scholars and experts yesterday lauded the initiative, stating that a geographically segregated minimum wage model is currently employed in the U.S., South Korea and Japan, while industry associations feared that Pan would face scathing criticism for the bold initiative.