The Executive Yuan on Thursday approved a 4-percent pay raise for public sector workers that will be implemented next year.
The proposed amendment to the 2022 central government budget bill to increase the wages of government employees, public school teachers, and military personnel still needs to be approved by the Legislature.
If the budget amendment clears the legislative floor, it will be the highest pay increase for public sector employees in 25 years, since a 5-percent raise in 1996.
The last time public sector employees got a pay raise was in 2018, when their salaries were increased by 3 percent.
Public sector workers also received 3-percent pay raises in 2001, 2005, and 2011, according to data from the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration.
The Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) estimates that the pay raise will cost taxpayers NT$31.4 billion (US$1.13 billion).
The DGBAS said it recommended the salary adjustment due to the positive outlook for the country's economic growth after Taiwan brought a domestic COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year under control.
Moreover, the pay raise is a response to increases in private sector salaries and the minimum wage, as well as a recognition of the almost two years of hard work by public employees in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the DGBAS said.
Following in the footsteps of the Cabinet, some state-owned enterprises and employers in the private sectors also announced pay raises Thursday.
Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Corp., the Printing Plant under the Ministry of Finance, and Taiwan Financial Holdings Co. (bank subsidiaries excluded) all revealed 4-percent pay raises for workers next year.
Taipei City University of Science & Technology also announced a 4-percent salary increase next year.
The State-owned Enterprises Commission, an agency under the Ministry of Economic Affairs in charge of supervising the management and operation of state-owned enterprises, said that various state-owned enterprises are expected to start discussions on pay increases in the first quarter of 2022 and set pay raise levels likely around April.
In related news, in response to concerns over whether monthly retirement pensions for military personnel, public school teachers, and civil servants will also be adjusted, Jay N. Shih (???), minister of the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration, said Thursday that that part is handled separately after a pension reform plan took effect in July 2018.
Under the new pension scheme, a pension adjustment should be made based on a positive or negative 5-percent accumulated fluctuation in the consumer price index (CPI) or should be evaluated at least once every four years using the CPI, according to Shih.
Currently, there are about 500,000 retired military personnel, public school teachers, and civil servants in Taiwan, Shih said.
The pension payments are expected to increase on July 1, 2022 at the earliest but the hike level will be evaluated by a panel of professionals formed by the Ministry of Civil Service, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of National Defense, he added.
DGBAS Minister Chu Tzer-ming (???) said that the government had allocated roughly NT$1 billion for the pension adjustment but the exact figure will be known only after an assessment is made by the evaluation panel.
Also on Thursday, Minister of Civil Service Chou Chih-hung (???) said at a legislative hearing that although Taiwan's CPI merely dropped 0.23 percent from 2019 to 2020, relevant ministries have started preparing for an adjustment plan before 2022 when the "one evaluation every four years" criteria for an adjustment will be met.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel