About 70 percent of the public is worried about pension stability and they support the government’s plan to overhaul pensions, a poll by Taiwan Thinktank showed yesterday.
The survey found 69.2 percent of respondents are worried that the government might not be able to pay them pensions to them or their children, while 26.1 percent said they are not worried.
Younger people are more concerned about their pensions, the poll found, with more than 70 percent of respondents aged from 20 to 49 expressing concern, while more than 30 percent of people aged 60 or above said they are not concerned.
Public-sector employees — including civil servants, teachers and military personnel — are the most concerned about pension stability, with 94.8 percent saying they are worried about not receiving pensions.
The survey found that 67 percent of respondents support pension reform, with 20 percent opposing it.
According to the survey, 47.5 percent of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) supporters and 57.9 percent of politically neutral respondents said they are in favor of reform, making them the groups with the lowest approval rates for the government’s pension reform plan.
In terms of the differences between the private-sector and public-sector pension systems, 66.3 percent of respondents said that the differences are unfair, while 23.1 percent said they are fair.
The survey showed that 50.7 percent of public-sector employees said the differences are fair, while more than 50 percent of respondents in other lines of work said the differences are not fair.
According to the survey, 77.1 percent of respondents support the government’s plan to narrow the difference between private-sector and public-sector pensions, with 16.3 percent saying they do not support it.
The poll showed that 75.5 percent of respondents said they agree with the plan to phase out the 18 percent preferential interest rate on savings for retired public employees in six years, while 17.6 percent disagree.
Regarding the government’s proposal to phase out the preferential rate over a six-year period, 31.7 percent said that the pace is too slow and 45.8 percent said it is well-paced, while 12.2 percent said it is too fast.
Among respondents who identified themselves as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters, 44.1 percent said the pace is too slow, the highest percentage among respondents who disclosed their affiliation with a political party.
According to the poll, 35.1 percent of respondents said reform should be enacted retroactively, which would make the new pension systems supersede the previous ones and be applicable to all pensioners, while 49.1 percent said that it should not.
New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said the survey showed non-partisan support for pension reform, adding that public anxiety over pension stability necessitates and motivates the push for reform.
“Reforming pensions is a priority, because we cannot encourage young people to have children while putting the burden [of pension costs] on them and their children,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Ching-yi (林靜儀) said.
Opponents of pension reform should be given a chance to voice their objection, despite calls for reform to be sped up, Lin added.
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said the Legislative Yuan would be reviewing draft reform plans in the new legislative session starting today.
The poll was conducted on Monday and Tuesday, with 1,075 valid samples collected. It has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 3 percentage points.