TAIWAN - State-owned refiner CPC Corp. has landed in hot water after reportedly handing out staff members' annual performance benefits early by categorizing the funds as "loans."
CPC had previously claimed that the year-end benefits were still being reviewed and had yet to be distributed to staff, but reports yesterday claimed that most benefits had already gone into workers' pockets.
Economic Minister Shih Yen-shiang and State-owned Enterprise Commission chief Liu Ming-chung yesterday both denied knowledge of the "loans."
Both claimed they only found out about the scandal after viewing media reports on the issue.
Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislators Chen Ming-wen and Su Chen-ching slammed the CPC's internal benefit system as being full of flaws.
The legislators requested an investigation into the issue be conducted by the Legislative Yuan's Economic Committee as soon as possible.
According to Chen, those who applied for as well as authorised the loans should be penalized since the bonuses have already been given.
The actions of CPC staff who were involved in the loan-giving procedure should be examined and the results should be directly reported to the Legislative Yuan, Chen said.
Su said the probe should begin immediately, so it can clarify how the top of the CPC hierarchy permitted the loan requests.
According to the refiner, annual benefits usually have to go through a series of high-level administrative procedures and examinations.
As a result they are distributed five to six months slower compared to those in the private business sector.
To satisfy employees' needs for Chinese New Year in February, CPC therefore approved the loans beforehand.
Shih said the giving of annual benefits in the form of loans before Chinese New Year should be revised with an in-depth investigation.