Contracting-out the Public Employment Services for the Poor in Taiwan: A Good Strategy to Pull the Needy Out of Poverty?

in International Symposium (oral presentation paper), 國際研討會(全文口頭發表)
標題Contracting-out the Public Employment Services for the Poor in Taiwan: A Good Strategy to Pull the Needy Out of Poverty?
AuthorsLin, 林宏陽
出版日期Jul 10 2013 12:0

It has been a long time that the poverty rate in Taiwan kept below 1% for the reason that the government assumes all able-bodied should do gainful works and earn at least minimum wage level, therefore they are hard to pass means tests. The financial crises and economic recessions in 1997, 2001 and 2008 in East Asia brought about significant long-term unemployment and in-work poverty problems in Taiwan. Those who were laid off and difficult to return to full-time employment even after recovery were still not being recognised as needy simply because they were physically sound. In order to tackle this problem, in July 2011, the government raised the poverty line and recognised those who were nearly poor as mid-low incomers. Around that time, the poverty rate (including those low-incomers only) went up from 0.97% in 2008 to 1.11% in 2010, and then boosted to 1.35% in 2011 and 1.45% (137,497 people) in June 2012. As for the mid-low incomers, the number further increased significantly from 179,112 in March 2012 to 262,562 people in September 2012.
Mid-low incomers, in effect, are not eligible for living assistances and receive fewer subsidies on health insurance fees, children’s tuition fees and rental flats than those low-income counterparts. Instead, because they were deemed not too far from being re-employed, the government actively initiated a series of vocational training and employment promotion programmes to help them back to full-time employment in 2009. Due to the workload of public employment agents aggravated and the placements of public employment endangered the shambolic finance these programmes were contracted out to private employment agencies from February 2012.
This research intends to apply both quantitative and qualitative methods and emphasise on: how do the government and private employment agencies work together on providing employment services for mid-low-incomers? How does this system perform so far? What are mid-low-incomers’ needs on both employment services and social security provisions? And, is this system really helpful for pulling the poor out of poverty? The last section of this article will conclude the findings and make propositions to improve this system as a whole.

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