Taipei to slash government workers' travel reimbursement

Taipei to slash government workers' travel reimbursement

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Starting in July, the Taipei City Government will slash government employees' transportation reimbursements, with the new measure projected to save close to NT$100 (S$4.3 million) million per year.

The Taipei Government doled out NT$500 million in transportation reimbursements to its employees every year. There are staff who reportedly live in remote Miaoli and Taitung counties and their reimbursements range as high as NT$7,000 per month.

These reimbursements are completely unreasonable and should be canceled, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said to the press after a city government meeting held yesterday. Only the Taipei Government provides transportation reimbursement in the country. "It is very awkward," Ko said.

The current rule says Taipei Government employees who live more than one kilometer away from the office are eligible to receive commuting reimbursements.

An updated transportation reimbursement guideline, to be implemented on July 1, stipulates that reimbursement for one-way traffic may not exceed NT$30. That is equivalent to NT$60 for a return trip, or NT$1,260 per month for a 21-working-day month.

Kang Ming-chu of Taipei Government's Department of Personnel said that 80 percent of civil servants currently apply for some degree of reimbursement, up to the NT$30 daily limit.

Implementation of the new rule will save the government NT$49 million in the second half of 2015, Kang said.

The decision was welcomed by many after the news broke out yesterday. Members of the public expressed disbelief that city government staff includes Miaoli and Taitung residents.

"They must have a rental place in Taipei," said one netizen. "In Taitung … Are they taking the airplane to work?" ridiculed another.

Government Readies to Cut Overtime Pay

Besides the transportation reimbursement, the new mayor is also considering an overhaul on the government's overtime pay system. The pay totals NT$800 million per year.

The transportation reimbursement and overtime pay totaled NT$140 million. Ko stressed that he does not intend to eliminate the budget. While he rejects low-pay work, Ko said he is opposed to "inefficiency" too. Ko said he wants to turn the pay budget into performance-based bonuses.

The key is not how long one has worked in the office, but how much work one has accomplished, and how well it is done, Ko said. The Personnel Department of Taipei has been tasked with designing a new compensation mechanism.

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