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June 28, 2017

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Foreign maid pay hike to be postponed: MOL

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Labor (MOL) yesterday promised not to implement the policy to increase the pay for foreign caregivers until coordinated measures have been completed.

Kuomintang lawmaker Yang Yu-hsin (楊玉欣) yesterday invited a mother of four surnamed Su, who has three disabled children requiring constant care, to a press conference and accused the government of ignoring the demands of families that have disabled members.

Su said she was unhappy after reading media reports stating that the ministry is scheduled to increase the pay of foreign domestic helpers in Taiwan and set down administrative guidelines that will ensure that all foreign caregivers have at least eight hours of rest daily and one day off weekly.

"The government cannot carry out policies without considering the effects and consequences they will bring to everyone," said Su. "Our incomes did not increase, but somehow the government plans to raise the salary of the foreign caregivers."

"Who will be there to help me take care of my children when the foreign caregivers enjoy their days off?" asked Su. "I understand that foreign caregivers have to get rest, but for us, we do not have such privilege."

Su wept and said that the cost of hiring foreign caregivers is high, but they still have to pay employment security fees into a specific account for an employment security fund for the workers.

Yang said that there are about 740,000 people in Taiwan who are not able to take care of themselves, but there are only 40,000 Taiwanese caregivers, who usually request higher pay compared to the salary requested by foreign caregivers.

"Based on Su's case, the government's policies regarding foreign caregivers and the long-term care system have never been friendly to people who need the help," said Yang. "Regulations such as foreign caregivers not being able to work here for more than 12 years or foreign caregivers having to leave Taiwan for one day after working here for over three years are what increase the burden for those families with disabled members."

Official Response

Lai Chia-jen of the Ministry of Labor said that the long-term care system cannot be based only on foreign workers, so the labor ministry and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) will work together to come up with coordinated measures that will ensure the protection of the rights of families with disabled members.

"I understand the struggle and difficulties that families with disabled members have to face," said Lai. "However, foreign caregivers also deserve the rights that we enjoy in Taiwan, so it is crucial for the government to provide care services that will help protect the rights of both the families with disabled members and foreign caregivers."

Lai also said that the ministry will not ignore the rights of those employers who hire foreign caregivers when carrying out policies concerning them, and the officials will not launch those policies unless everyone can reach agreements on them.

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