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New occupational disease coverage for ag workers coming this month

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Premier Su Tseng-chang said Thursday that this year has seen not only the completion of the four-component insurance and pension benefits system for agricultural workers, but beginning on September 10, coverage of occupational diseases will be incorporated into occupational injury and disease insurance. This will expand benefits without leading to higher premiums, said the premier.

Premier Su's remarks came following a Council of Agriculture (COA) briefing on the scope and enhancement of occupational injury and disease insurance.

The four major components of the agricultural worker benefits package are health insurance, occupational injury and disease insurance, agricultural insurance, and retirement savings accounts. Occupational injury coverage was prioritized for implementation in November 2018 under the umbrella of occupational injury and disease insurance. Now after more than two years of refinement, the improved product covers more insureds and pays out higher benefits.

The government now wants to further expand the level of protection, Premier Su said. Starting September 10 this year, occupational diseases will be included in the scope of benefits so that agricultural workers who suffer from work-related diseases can receive compensation.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the premier continued. He instructed the COA to strengthen the safety education of farmers in the farming environment, starting with an understanding of the causes of occupational hazards in agricultural work, and then improving the prevention of occupational injuries and diseases. The goal is to create awareness among farmers of the importance of workplace safety in order to prevent occupational accidents and diseases from occurring.

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