Likely wage hike for for­eign helpers af­ter 18-year freeze

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Mi­grant do­mes­tic helpers will likely see their first pay raise in 18 years with Tai­wan seek­ing an agree­ment over the scale of in­crease with coun­tries where for­eign work­ers largely come from, a la­bor of­fi­cial said yesterday.

Tai­wan is look­ing to in­crease the monthly pay to NT$17,000 for mi­grant do­mes­tic helpers from the cur­rent NT$15,840 that has re­mained un­changed for 18 years, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of La­bor.

But the pro­posed in­crease has yet to meet the de­mands of some coun­tries, such as the Philip­pines and In­done­sia, from which Tai­wan em­ploy­ers usu­ally re­cruit do­mes­tic helpers, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­tral News Agency.

These coun­tries are ask­ing for an in­crease to NT$17,500 monthly, threat­en­ing not to let their peo­ple come to work in Tai­wan if the de­mand is not met, the CNA said.

Cur­rently about 220,000 mi­grant do­mes­tic helpers are work­ing in Tai­wan, the CNA added.

Deputy La­bor Min­is­ter Hao Feng-ming said a pay raise plan for mi­grant work­ers must take into con­sid­er­a­tion the ac­com­mo­da­tion and meal costs em­ploy­ers have to be re­spon­si­ble for.

Mi­grant work­ers might be given an equiv­a­lent of Tai­wan’s min­i­mum wage at NT$20,008, but the ac­com­mo­da­tion and meal costs must be de­ducted from the sum, Hao said. Mi­grant work­ers are not cov­ered by Tai­wan’s La­bor Stan­dards Act.

Another way is to di­rectly in­crease the monthly pay to NT$17,000, the deputy min­is­ter added.

Hao said the gov­ern­ment has been ne­go­ti­at­ing with the coun­tries in­volved on an al­most daily ba­sis, but they have been very adamant that the sum be hiked to NT$17,500.

The min­istry is invit­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives from In­done­sia, the Philip­pines, Viet­nam and Thai­land to a meet­ing later this month to try to seek an agree­ment, Hao said.

Hao said if an agree­ment fails to be reached, Tai­wan might have to re­duce its re­liance on mi­grant work­ers or look for them from other coun­tries.

If the in­crease is fi­nal­ized, it will ap­ply to all mi­grant do­mes­tic helpers re­cruited this year.

Those who are al­ready work­ing in Tai­wan may need to ne­go­ti­ate with their em­ploy­ers to see if they can also en­joy a pay raise, the of­fi­cial said.

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