Government support payments for unemployment and retirement rise

Sandra Chuang, The China Post

The number of workers in the Taiwan-Fukien area under the labor insurance program during the first four months increased 1.3 percent to 7.85 million from the same period last year, according to the latest data recently released by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS). During the first four months, around 280,000 people applied for payments from the program, with payments amounting to NT$40.4 billion. The two figures respectively grew 30 percent and 20 percent from one year ago.

However, as for the benefits under the program, only pension payments and unemployment payments increased from the same period last year. Pension payments increased 30 percent to NT$26.7 billion, accounting for 66 percent of the labor insurance payments during the period. Meanwhile, the unemployment payments jumped to NT$1.52 billion, compared with only NT$500 million of the same period last year.

The main reason for the increased pension payments was the government’s policy of privatizing state-run enterprises, causing more people to retire and apply for retirement payments. The average payment for each retirement application amounted to NT$724,000, up 11.6 percent from one year earlier. The increasing unemployment payments are mainly attributed to the relaxed payment requirements announced earlier this year and to the growing jobless population this year. According to the statistics, from January through April, a total of 95,000 insured people applied for the unemployment payment, increasing sharply from the 63,000 of the same period last year.