COVID-19: Unemployed workers need help paying for bailouts, says NPP

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  • By Shelley Shan / Staff Reporter

If workers who previously received bailout loans find themselves unemployed again due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Labor should consider extending their repayment period or offering them a deduction, the Labor Department said yesterday. New Power Party (NPP) caucus.

The caucus urged the government to take action to mitigate the effects of inflation and the pandemic on workers at a news conference in Taipei ahead of International Workers’ Day on Sunday.

Helping workers who are facing economic hardship due to the pandemic is an urgent issue the government should address as it grapples with the COVID-19 outbreak, NPP caucus whip Chiu said. Hsien-chih (邱顯智).

Photo: ANC

Last year, the number of hotel and restaurant workers was around 60,000 lower than in 2020, while arts, entertainment and leisure service companies reported a drop in about 25,000 workers, Chiu said.

Government policy to bail out workers in financial difficulty should be designed to protect low-income workers and those with minimal education, as they are more susceptible to the effects of the pandemic, he added.

“For example, the Bureau of Labor Insurance requires bailout loan applicants to begin repaying their loan in the seventh month after receiving the loan. However, many of them might default on the loan,” Chiu said. “It’s not because they don’t want to repay the loan, but they just can’t afford it – either they just got a new job or they haven’t earned enough to support themselves. .”

While the government has offered unemployment benefits for the past two years, some people have received a full subsidy for a few months, while others have only received a half subsidy, he said. , adding that others were not eligible at all.

“We suggest that the Department of Labor extend the repayment period and provide a deduction for workers who received a rescue loan but became unemployed due to the pandemic,” Chiu said. “Article 16 of the Employment Insurance Law (就業保險法) stipulates that the department may seek permission from the Executive Yuan to extend the reimbursement period.”

The government should consider adjusting the minimum wage in view of rising inflation, which hurts blue-collar workers the most, he added.

NPP lawmaker Claire Wang (王婉諭) said the ministry is to determine this week whether workers can apply to have labor insurance cover their medical expenses if they are quarantined at home with mild symptoms. of COVID-19.

“Taiwan now has more than 5,000 cases of COVID-19 a day, and we shouldn’t let everyone flock to hospitals for treatment or deliberately hide their symptoms because they don’t want their wages deducted. for missing work,” Wang said.

Meanwhile, parents should be granted paid leave when their children are asked to stay home or take online classes due to COVID-19, Wang said, adding that the caucus had received complaints from parents about it.

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