The Cabinet on Thursday approved a draft bill to encourage employment among middle-aged (ages 45 to 64) and senior (aged 65 and above) workers. Drafted by the Ministry of Labor Affairs, the bill will now go to the Legislature for review and debate.
Premier Su Tseng-chang said that Taiwan became an "aged society" (defined as societies where more than 14 percent of the population are aged 65 and older) in 2018, and is estimated to enter the ranks of the "super-aged," (where those 65 and older exceed 20 percent) by 2026. This aging of Taiwan's population along with a drop in fertility has changed the nation's demographic structure, including a gradual decline in the total working-age population (people between the ages of 15 and 64) from a peak in 2015. To reduce the possible risk of future manpower shortages in the labor market, the government has been pursuing a full range of strategies, initiatives and legislative revisions in the hope of increasing labor participation rates among workers at all age levels.
Noting that in the past there were some who left the workforce or retired too early, the premier said that many of these now middle-aged and even senior workers may be willing to return to active employment. The government should now help activate this eager pool of labor to invest their energy, technical skills and many years of experience to continue making contributions to national development.
With the objective of boosting labor participation among middle-aged and senior job seekers, the bill has been structured as a special, stand-alone act to clearly establish rights for such workers, said Premier Su. On the one hand, middle-aged and senior workers will be guaranteed equal working opportunities, while on the other, employers will have the flexibility of using set-period contracts in hiring those aged 65 and over to put their labor to good use. In addition, there is the prospect of middle-aged and senior workers bringing unique strengths to the workplace, sharing experience and cooperating with younger generations to mutually achieve social and economic development.