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September 25, 2017

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Labor Ministry denies early pay hikes for foreign maids

TAIPEI -- The Ministry of Labor denies reports that the pay of foreign domestic helpers in Taiwan could be raised to the same level as the country's minimum wage, starting in July.

The ministry stressed that it will hold a complete discussion with the public before any new measures are introduced.

In principle, the caregivers' salaries are based on an agreement between the workers and their employers, although the government encourages employers to improve the work conditions of their foreign domestic helpers and protect their rights, the ministry said.

The minimum wage does not apply to domestic helpers because they are not covered by the Labor Standards Act.

Currently, the majority of domestic helper jobs in Taiwan are undertaken by foreign workers, who are paid NT$15,840 per month on average. That is lower than Taiwan's minimum wage, which is now NT$19,047 per month and will go up to NT$19,273 starting on July 1.

According to media reports, the ministry is planning to set down administrative guidelines that will address the pay issue, given that a draft law governing the rights of domestic helpers has remained stalled in the Legislative Yuan for the past three years.

Under the proposed guidelines, the salary of foreign domestic helpers reportedly would be raised to NT$19,273 per month. After a NT$2,500 deduction for food and accommodation, the foreign workers would receive NT$16,773 per month, representing an increase of NT$933 from their present pay level, the reports said.

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