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Covid-19 measures for Taiwan employees and the self-employed announced

by Christine Chen and Hsin-Hsin Cheng

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Taiwan government has announced subsidy programs for impacted employees and the self-employed. This article was updated on 20 April to reflect newly announced subsidy programs available for self-employed workers.

Reassurance Employment Plan for employees

On 27 March 2020 the Taiwan government announced a Reassurance Employment Plan (安心就業計畫) aimed at countering the negative impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic on the Taiwanese job market. The measures, which apply retroactively to 15 January, include government subsidies for employees who have wages and working hours reduced due to a contraction in their employer’s business. Agreements reached between employees and their employer must be in writing, and include wage and hour reductions for a period of more than 30 days in order to qualify for the subsidy. Employees can apply for the subsidy at their local labor authority. Certain categories of foreign nationals, for example those with dependent ARCs or APRCs working in Taiwan, are eligible for this subsidy.

Employers may decide to report the agreement to the local labor regulator. However, even if the employer does not complete the report, the employee can notify the local labor regulator, who may review the agreement to confirm whether it meets the subsidy criteria. If so, the employees can then receive the subsidy.

The subsidy calculation formula is the average monthly insured salary (the maximum amount is NT$45,800) for the 12 month period prior to the effective date of the agreement minus the agreed monthly salary specified in the agreement (must be at least NT$23,800) multiplied by 50%. The maximum monthly subsidy amount is NT$11,000. Employees may receive the subsidy for at most 6 months. The program applies only to full and part-time employees that receive salary on a monthly basis (i.e. not hourly wage employees). As an example, if an employee is usually paid NT$45,800, and the agreed monthly salary in the agreement is NT$23,800, then the subsidy available will be NT$11,000= (45,800-23,800)*50%.

Subsidy program for the self-employed

On 20 April 2020, a subsidy program for the self-employed (including independent contractors) was officially announced. The subsidy is NT$10,000 per month. The self-employed may receive subsidies for up to 3 months. The self-employed are eligible to apply for the subsidy if the following conditions are met: (i) they hold Taiwan citizenship; (ii) they have enrolled in the labor insurance scheme through a professional union on or before 31 March 2020; (iii) their insured salary in March was NT$24,000 or less; (iv) their taxable income in 2018 was NT$408,000 or less; and (v)  they are ineligible to apply for other subsidies issued by government authorities (such as the ones offered by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications or the Ministry of Culture).

Eligible self-employed workers can submit an application form along with a copy of their bank passbook to their professional union.

For more information on employment matters in Taiwan, please contact Christine Chen at cchen@winklepartners.com.

 

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