Employers should not use government relief funds for workers’ pay

Taiwan's New Power Party (NPP) has raised the issue of employers using pandemic relief funds to pay their staff’s salaries.
By: | August 9, 2021

This comes after many workers complained that they have not received their relief funds in full. 

Taiwan’s Executive Yuan has budgeted more relief funds to businesses and workers for financial losses they incurred after the Central Epidemic Command Center raised the pandemic alert to level 3 in May. 

Besides subsidies for affected businesses, each affected worker is supposed to get a government subsidy of NT$40,000 (US$1,440) – a one-time salary subsidy of NT$30,000 (US$1,080) and NT$10,000 (US$360) from the Employment Stabilization Fund. 

Workers’ subsidies are given to employers who then are to disburse them to their employees. 

“However, we have received multiple complaints from movie-theatre workers that their employers listed the relief funds as their salaries from May to July on their pay slips. As such, they received only a fraction of the money allotted to them,” said NPP legislative caucus whip Chiu Hsien-chih. 

NPP Legislator Claire Wang said The Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay full wages to workers themselves. As such, employers need to distribute relief funds to workers on top of the wages employees receive. 

READ: Taiwan’s self-employed to benefit from government subsidies

The Executive Yuan has set aside funds to subsidise employers affected by the level 3 alert, so they should not use workers’ relief funds to pay salaries, said Chien Shao-chi, a specialist at the National Development Council. 

Chien said the council would hold an internal meeting to discuss whether to issue an official notification to all government agencies banning the practice, according to Taipei Times.