Labor minister touts minimum wage hike of about 3% in 2022

Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) is seen in this file photo from September 2021. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) hinted Thursday at a 3 percent increase in Taiwan’s minimum wage, one day before the annual meeting of the Minimum Wage Review Committee.

Speaking at the Legislative Yuan about a possible hike in January 2022, Hsu said that the extent of the increase would not be determined until the committee convenes on Friday.

The current minimum monthly wage in Taiwan is NT$24,000 (US$857) and the minimum hourly wage is NT$160. If the minimum wage is increased by 3 percent, the minimum monthly wage could reach NT$24,720 while the minimum hourly wage would reach NT$166.

The minister’s comment is consistent with a previous estimate made by several news outlets. If agreed upon by the review committee, however, it will fall short of the expectations of labor groups which have called for a hike by 6-8 percent.

In light of the country’s strong economic growth and increase of the consumer price index over the past year, several trade unions gathered outside the office of the General Chamber of Commerce that day to demand a bigger share of business profits for their employees.

The groups cited government estimates from August which indicated the economy will grow 5.88 percent in 2021. They also argued that the minimum wage was only raised 0.84 percent last year.

However, the Chinese National Federation of Industries, which represents 159 business associations in Taiwan, denounced the government’s plan to raise the minimum wage for risking to impact on small and medium-sized businesses already suffering losses due to the pandemic

The group cited a survey it recently conducted with 200 of its members that indicated 93 percent of respondents could accept an increase of no more than 3 percent.

Hsu also told lawmakers Thursday that if the minimum wage hike is confirmed, the government will focus on plans to provide subsidies to companies that have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

Hsu also ruled out the possibility of only increasing the minimum wage in certain industries, saying that once the review committee reaches a decision and it is approved by the Cabinet, the policy will be rolled out in all sectors.