Taiwan Legal Update:Taiwan and Thailand Ink Business MOUs in Bangkok & Constitutional Court Ruling On Pension Amendments

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Taiwan Legal Update:Taiwan and Thailand Ink Business MOUs in Bangkok & Constitutional Court Ruling On Pension Amendments

Taiwan and Thailand Ink Business MOUs in Bangkok

The annual Thailand-Taiwan Industrial Collaboration Summit concluded Tuesday 20th. The National Federation of Industries (Taiwan) and The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) the Federation of Thai Industries signed seven Memorandums of Understanding (MOU). The MOUs will generate new opportunities to cooperate across several industries such areas as the Internet of Things and smart city solutions.

 

Close cooperation between Taiwan and Thailand could prove advantageous, helping maintain and boost current orders amid ongoing trade disputes. Taiwan and Thailand can better cooperate in the food, textile, machinery and unmanned aerial vehicle sectors.

 

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The Constitutional Court Rules Pension Amendments Unconstitutional

The Constitutional Court concludes that changes made to public employee pension laws in 2018 violate the Constitution. This announcement succeeds the issuance of constitutional interpretations on three pension reform petitions filed by Kuomintang legislators.

 

The disputed pension reforms targeted civil servants, public school teachers and military personnel and took effect on July 1, 2018. The policy cut pension benefits to public-sector workers in an attempt to extend the life of the pension programs.

 

The petitions claimed that:

1.  The legislation overrules past legal facts;

2. The new legislation violated the principle of “non-retroactivity";

3. The legislation denies pensioners benefits initially promised as conditions of employment they expected to receive.

 

The petitions had argued that the new laws overruled past legal facts and violated the principle of “non-retroactivity" and also denied pensioners benefits that had been promised as conditions of employment and that they could legitimately expect to receive. Justices of the Constitutional Court were asked to determine whether the revisions violated the principle of non-retroactivity, the doctrine of legitimate expectations, and the right to own property.

 

Ruling

The Constitutional Interpretations, No. 781, No. 782 and No. 783 were available to the public at 4 p.m. on Friday.

 

The court found the laws consistent with the Constitution, except for regulations stipulating that “pensions would be suspended if public sector pensioners are hired by private schools".

 

The Act of Military Service for Officers and Non-commissioned Officers of the Armed Forces (陸海空軍軍官士官服役條例) states that pensions for retired military officers and sergeants will be stopped if they are employed as full-time teachers at private universities or colleges and paid a monthly wage higher than Grade 1 (the most basic level) plus a professional stipend.

 

The court found this provision violates the right to equality, as guaranteed in the Constitution, as it limits the working rights of pensioners and limits them from accessing opportunities available to others. The court also states that pensions are not to be treated as deferred salary payments so their pensions should not be stopped, even if they earn a salary

 

This ruling extends to regulations in the Act Governing Retirement, Severance and Bereavement Compensation for the Teaching and Other Staff Members of Public Schools (公立學校教職員退休資遣撫卹條例) and the Act Governing Retirement, Severance and the Civil Servant Retirement and Severance Pension Act (公務人員退休資遣撫卹法). These laws took effect on August 2017.

 

However, the court also determined that while retired public-sector workers will receive lower pensions, they are still receiving a pension, therefore, the revisions did not overturn a legal fact and are thus, non-retroactive. The revisions do not violate the principle of “legitimate expectations" because the payments were reduced, not completely revoked. In percentage terms, the revised pensions are in line with international norms.

 

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