Majority of public backs pension reforms by year-end: poll

Taipei--A majority of the public in Taiwan supports completing reforms of the country's deficit-ridden pension programs by the end of this year, according to a survey released Thursday by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Overall, 70.4 percent of the respondents said they support the idea of completing the pension reforms this year, compared with 25.9 percent against, DPP spokesman Yang Chia-liang (???) said.

Among the laborers, 72.5 percent said they support the idea. However, among military personnel, teachers and civil servants, only 44.2 percent expressed support for completing the reforms this year, with 55.8 percent opposed.

The poll found that 86.3 percent back the idea of allowing employees to carry over their work years, upon which pensions are calculated, when they move to a different job.

As for gradually increasing the premium rates that public servants, teachers and private sector employees pay for their pension insurance programs to 18 percent from 12 percent, over 60 percent said they support the plan.

Over 60 percent of the respondents also said they support the idea of extending the insured salary payment period that is adopted as the basis for calculating pension payments.

Nearly 70 percent expressed support for eliminating the 18-percent preferential interest rate on retirement savings accounts for public sector employees, while about 63 percent said they support increasing the retirement age to 65 for receiving full pension.

Meanwhile, a DPP source said the survey also found a growing approval rate for President Tsai Ing-wen (???) after her administration laid out the government's pension reform plans.

The party's latest survey found an approval rate of 43.9 percent for Tsai, which the source said has grown from the president's approval rate before the national convention on pension reform.

The convention was held Jan. 22 to solicit public opinion from different groups on pension reform issues. On the same day, a large protest staged by retired and active civil servants, public school teachers and military personnel took place to voice opposition to the government's reform plans.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel