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Minimum monthly wage raised to NT$20,008 in 2015
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-29 09:25 PM

Both business and labor groups reached an agreement for the minimum wage hike in a meeting coordinated by the Ministry of Labor on Friday amid heated debates over a basic wage level reflecting the skyrocketing cost of basic essentials and food. Starting from July of 2015, the minimum wage will be lifted to NT$20,008 from the existing NT$19,273 with an increase of NT$735 (US$24.5), or 3.8 percent, a month. The minimum hourly wage will be revised upward to NT$120 from NT$115, up to the expectation of the new labor minister Chen Hsiung-wen.

The Basic Wage Deliberation Committee reconvened Friday afternoon with the attendance of both labor and business groups. Both sides initiated substantial discussion on the percentage of increase in wage. The bottom line for an increase for the business sector was reportedly at 3 percent, and the Ministry of Labor (MOL) favors the gauge to determine the basic wage by taking into account both the GDP and CPI annual percentage change, meaning the minimum wage should be lifted to more than NT$20,000 and the hourly rate to NT$120.

Under the new minimum wage rule, 2.34 million workers who depend on the basis of the minimum wage and 0.34 million part-time workers are expected to benefit from the wage hike.

The minimum wage was just raised to NT$19,273 this July with a 1.2 percent rise; the minimum hourly rate was lifted to NT$115 this January. Labor groups complained that the increase can’t catch up with flying food costs, however.

Last year the Basic Wage Deliberation Committee reached a resolution that only when the CPI annual growth rate reaches 3% will a minimum wage review meeting be held. The business sector leaders were irritated by a notice from the Executive Yuan of a far-ahead-of-the-scheduled review meeting on wages Monday and deliberately snubbed the meeting.

Labor Minister Chen Hsiung-wen visited seven industrial and commercial organizations after Monday and business representatives agreed to attend a Friday meeting to discuss a change in the minimum wage.

According to the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), GDP for Q2 was 3.84% and the estimated GDP for 2014 was 2.98%. The CPI for July increased 1.75% from last year, recording the highest year-on-year growth in 17 months. The food CPI annual growth rate for July was 4.27%. If viewed with 17 benchmarking basic essentials, the price index was 5.18% for the period between January and July. The government has forecast inflation of 1.64 percent this year.

The wage increases, which are more than double the expected rise in inflation this year, are expected to be implemented beginning next July if they are approved by the Cabinet.

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