Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Planned bonus cut angers military officers, threatens morale

Taiwanese soldiers stand at attention
‘Our family’s rightfully deserved pension bonuses have been confiscated by the government ... her father can no longer afford to hand out red envelopes or buy them new clothes on Lunar New Year’ 

Plans announced last week by the Executive Yuan to slash the year-end bonuses for retired civil servants have caused consternation among both serving and retired military personnel, hurting morale and potentially undermining plans to create an all-volunteer force by 2015.

Following an expedited review of the annual year-end bonus for retired civil servants, military personnel and public school teachers, Premier Sean Chen announced a provisional plan to cut the budget for the bonus from NT$19.2 billion (US$656 million) under the current regime to about NT$1 billion. 

Under the new regime, which could come into force starting in February next year, retired public servants in only two categories — those receiving a monthly pension of less than NT$20,000 and the families of military personnel who died or were injured in the line of duty — would be entitled to the bonus, or about 42,000 people, from 432,000 at present. 

Although most people agree that the current system is unsustainable given the treasury’s financial difficulties, divisions remain on the breadth and scope of the proposed cuts. 

My analysis, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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