Higher wage in store for foreign caregivers working in Taiwan (Taiwan News)

Taipei, Aug. 28 (CNA) Foreign caregivers planning to work in Taiwan will receive a monthly wage of NT$17,000 (US$525) beginning on Sept. 1, Labor Minister Chen Hsiung-wen (???) announced on Friday. That represents an increase of NT$1,160, or 7.32 percent, from the current monthly wage of NT$15,840, which has been the fixed rate for the past 18 years. In contrast to the minimum monthly wage of NT$20,008 for workers in Taiwan, which has increased 26 percent during the period, Chen said the 7.32 percent raise was reasonable. Foreign nationals working as domestic caregivers in Taiwan are not covered under Taiwan’s Labor Standards Act and therefore not entitled to the statutory minimum wage. The higher monthly wage will only be applied, however, to new applicants from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, and not to those already working in Taiwan. With the monthly pay for migrant domestic helpers in Hong Kong and Macau at NT$16,530, Taiwan hopes that the wage increase can attract quality domestic helpers to work in the country, Chen said after a meeting with officials from the four Southeast Asian countries earlier in the day. Indonesia and the Philippines, the two countries that provide the most migrant domestic helpers in Taiwan, have pressed Taiwan for months to increase the wages for their workers to NT$17,500 per month, and have been holding back new workers from employers unwilling to pay that amount. It was not immediately clear if the new wage settled the differences between Taiwan and the two countries.

But Agusdin Subiantoro, deputy director of Indonesia’s National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers, told CNA on Thursday that Indonesia and Taiwan had reached the agreement to increase migrant caregivers’ pay to NT$17,000 after rounds of negotiations. Groups of manpower brokers called for the ministry on Friday afternoon to require incoming migrant workers to have HIV/AIDS testing and pregnancy tests done. But the Labor Ministry said that considering international human rights conventions and workplace gender equality, those tests should not be requirements for those workers. (By Zoe Wei, Wen Kuei-hsiang and Kuo Chung-han)