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Monthly minimum wage could reach NT$30,000 in 4-6 years: official

2018/01/16 11:43:09

Taipei, Jan. 16 (CNA) A monthly minimum wage of NT$30,000 (US$1,000) is possible in Taiwan in four to six years with continued economic growth and increases in the minimum wage that exceed the growth rate, Vice Premier Shih Jun-ji (施俊吉) said Tuesday.

During a radio interview, Shih said the goal of a NT$30,000 monthly minimum wage can be achieved in four to six years if it is increased by at least 6 percent annually.

The most recent increase in the monthly minimum wage was a 4.5 percent hike to NT$22,000 that took effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

The increase was higher than the 2.2 percent GDP growth forecast for this year, and a similar strategy could be used in the future, the vice premier said.

An annual minimum wage hike of 6 percent would achieve the NT$30,000 goal by 2024, a 7 percent annual hike would achieve the goal by 2023, and an 8 percent annual hike would nearly achieve the goal by 2022, Shih said.

He acknowledged, however, that extreme minimum wage hikes can result in shutdowns of small and medium-sized businesses and layoffs at large companies, as occurred in South Korea, and said the hikes should only be allowed if positive economic growth continues.

Asked what approach the government should follow to address low wages, Shih said a targeted approach that first addresses sectors with the lowest wages and demographics with the most unemployed people would be better than a broad approach aimed at improving the entire economy.

The government will look to propose solutions to the low-wage problem before Chinese New Year, he said.

Shih was also asked about rumors that the deputy chief of Taiwan's central bank, Yang Chin-long (楊金龍), will take over for Perng Fai-nan (彭淮南) when Perng's term as central bank governor ends on Feb. 25.

The vice premier responded that he did not know the likelihood of Yang getting the job, but he said he heard that Yang is one of the candidates being considered and praised Yang as a suitable candidate who understands the operations of the bank very well.

(By Ku Chuan and Kuan-lin Liu)