Average year-end bonuses to fall to 11-year low: poll

Even as Taiwan experienced robust economic growth in 2021 on the back of strong exports, worries over COVID-19 have affected private consumption and are expected to cause average year-end bonuses to fall to the lowest level in 11 years, according to the 1111 online job bank.

Citing a survey conducted earlier in December, the job bank said enterprises in Taiwan are expected to give an average year-end bonus equivalent to 1.13 months of salary to employees ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, the lowest level since the institution started conducting the poll in 2011.

The figure was lower than the expected 1.18 months of salary for year-end bonuses in 2020, when the country's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.36 percent, lower than the forecast of 6.09 percent for 2021 made by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics.

Vivi Huang (???), a spokesperson for the job bank, said domestic demand had been hurt by an outbreak of domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases in mid-May, especially in service sector industries such as food and beverage, tourism, lodging, retail, and transportation operators.

Huang said that while the outbreak had been brought under control, the emergence of the Omicron variant had made many businesses more cautious about their business outlook, which has also affected their willingness to pay year-end bonuses.

In Taiwan, enterprises tend to give year-end bonuses to employees as a reward based on the companies' earnings ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. The next Lunar New Year holiday will start on Jan. 29, 2022.

According to the survey, the information technology industry is expected to issue the highest year-end bonuses equivalent to an average of 1.64 months of salary, while the service sector could see the lowest year-end bonuses equivalent to an average of only 0.94 months of salary.

Among the 878 employers polled in the survey, the job bank stated that 76.3 percent said they would give year-end bonuses, down almost 10 percentage points from 86 percent in a similar survey conducted last year.

Of the remaining 23.7 percent of employers which have no plan to give year-end bonuses, about 53 percent of them said their businesses suffered declines which impacted their bottom line this year, while 13.7 percent said they would resort to other bonus mechanisms instead of year-end bonuses to reward their employees, the poll found.

According to the job bank, enterprises that have been around for 20 years or more showed the highest willingness to issue year-end bonuses, while most enterprises which have been established for less than one year did not give year-end bonuses.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel