Raft of new government regulations to take effect in 2022

Taiwan's government will implement a series of new regulations in 2022, some of which will target the local workforce. The following are some of the major changes:

Pay increases

The Executive Yuan has approved a 4-percent pay raise for public sector workers, which is the highest pay increase for public sector employees in 25 years, since a 5-percent increase in 1996. Roughly 1.04 million people are expected to benefit from this adjustment.

However, owing to delays in the review of the budget bill, the increase will now not go into effect until after Jan. 1, 2022, though the government plans to backdate its provisions to that date.

The monthly minimum wage for workers will be raised by 5.21 percent from NT$24,000 (US$866) to NT$25,250, and the hourly minimum wage from NT$160 to NT$168. According to Ministry of Labor (MOL) statistics, 2.45 million workers are expected to benefit from the monthly and hourly wage increase.

Also, businesses that saw a steep drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to apply for subsidies from the government, with a subsidy of NT$1,000 per month for each full-time employee paid monthly and NT$560 per month for each part-time worker paid by the hour for a period of six months.

Meanwhile, employers who ask off-duty workers to help out with office tasks such as handle urgent paperwork or answer telephone calls will have to pay overtime.

According to the MOL, employers who violate this regulation can be fined from NT$20,000 to NT$1 million under the Labor Standards Act.

Tax deductions

The basic living expense tax deduction for 2021 has been raised to NT$192,000, and this will be applicable for the next tax season when individuals file their income taxes next year.

About 2.29 million households in Taiwan are expected to benefit from the upward adjustment.

According to Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (???) in October, it is the fifth consecutive year the deduction for basic living expenses has been raised.

Furthermore, gift and inheritance tax exemptions are set to be raised by NT$240,000 and NT$1.33 million to NT$2.44 million and NT$13.33 million, respectively.

In other criteria, a license tax exemption for electric vehicles will be extended for another four years until the end 2025.

A transaction tax cut for day trading, which reduces the tax by half to 0.15 percent, will be extended for another three years to the end of 2024.

COVID-19 prevention

In terms of COVID-19 prevention, essential workers in certain government-regulated industries will need to be fully vaccinated against the disease when they go to work on Jan. 1. Those employed by or working in institutions under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the Ministry of Labor will be subject to the CECC's new regulations.

Those who work in funeral homes and correctional facilities will also be subject to the new rule, the CECC said.

Those visiting patients at hospitals will be required to take a self-paid COVID-19 test once a week, on top of the already existing requirement that they receive a free test for their first visit. However, from Feb. 1, 2022 all COVID-19 tests will have to be paid for.

Disposable medical materials, which have been sanitized for reuse, must be approved by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, or be inspected and registered in accordance with the provisions of the Medical Devices Act before they can be used.

Pension eligibility

The age of eligibility for people to claim full old-age pension under the Labor Insurance program will be raised from 62 to 63 next year.

Considering Taiwan's aging workforce, the Labor Insurance Pension system, which was introduced in 2009, increased the eligibility age for full pension by one year in the 10th year of its launch, then by increments of one year biennially until the age of 65.

This means 61 years old in 2018, 62 in 2020, 63 in 2022, 64 in 2024, and 65 in 2026.

Chocolates and eggs

For chocolates with fillings, the chocolate coating must make up at least 25 percent of the total weight of the product in order to use the word "chocolate" in its name. Also, chocolate products with added vegetable oil that accounts for over 5 percent of the total weight of the product will not be allowed to include "chocolate" in their name, though they can be described as chocolate-flavored.

Eggs sold in Taiwan will be required to carry a traceability code on their shell, enabling consumers to more easily identify the source of the eggs and how the hens producing them are farmed. According to the Council of Agriculture, this new measure will apply to all washed eggs sold by convenience stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets, wholesale retailers and e-commerce platforms.

Hotel-to-social housing program

A hotel-to-social housing program will be launched as part of government efforts to promote housing justice nationwide. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the program will mainly target hotel/motel operators and leasing companies, encouraging them to sign up to convert their properties into social housing units through the provision of subsidies and tax breaks.

During the first two years of the initial three-year program, it is expected that 20,000 units -- 16,000 hotel/motel units and 4,000 empty private or public-owned units -- will be converted.

The main objective of the program is to provide decent and safe social housing to youth and the underprivileged, while also helping hoteliers overcome the severe fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MOI said, citing figures from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

Allowance for trainee teachers

The Ministry of Education will provide an allowance for trainee teachers. From January next year, each trainee teacher doing half a year of practical training in accordance with the Teacher Education Act can apply to receive NT$5,000 per month for up to six months.

Childcare subsidies

The government's monthly childcare subsidy for parents with children under the age of 5 will be raised from NT$3,500 to NT$5,000 beginning Aug. 1, 2022.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel