The Ministry of Labor is offering worker relief loans. However, the National Audit Office has found that some of the borrowers are government functionaries. The ministry says it has already started checks.
The Ministry of Labor previously started offering low-interest worker relief loans of up to NT$100,000 for up to three years to workers affected by the pandemic. Statistics show over 1.1 million people have applied, and 930,000 loans with a value of NT$91.7 billion were issued. The MOL provided over NT$1.5 billion in interest subsidies. The National Audit Office discovered that some of the borrowers are government functionaries, and warned the ministry to take note.
Hsieh Chien-chien, Director, Dept. of Employment Welfare & Retirement, MOL: “They applied in May. However, the labor insurance information that was used was from March, since there was no way that the information was available in May. It's possible that they worked on a temp basis, or worked and then went to serve in the military. We need to confirm whether they were military personnel during the time they applied.”
The MOL said it has already started checking. Applicants could have been temp workers that later served in the military, causing their status to change. It has asked banks to provide additional information. It also said that only those who are laborers at the time of application are eligible.
Hsieh Chien-chien, Director, Dept. of Employment Welfare & Retirement, MOL: “Military personnel, public functionaries, and public school teachers may not apply for the worker relief loan. We are checking right now with the banks and accessing related information. If we find that someone has government functionary status, we will ask the bank to return the interest subsidy that was subsidized by the Ministry of Labor.”
The MOL said if loan applicants are in fact government functionaries, it will ask banks to return the interest subsidy it provided of up to NT$1,773. It added that if workers were contractually hired by the public sector or state-owned enterprises, they can take out loans as they are covered by labor insurance and therefore have laborer status.