As Taiwan’s population rapidly greys, demand for healthcare and medical services has been increasing in step, yet human resources for elderly care remain in short supply. To ensure the rights of the elderly, the Control Yuan (CY) launched an investigation to make sure they receive the best care possible.
The investigation found that the number of elderly incapable of taking care of themselves has been steadily increasing every year, and therefore demand for elderly care has risen. However, foreigners can only be hired on a gradual supplemental basis, given consideration of the effects on Taiwan citizen’s employment rights, and thus cannot completely fill the gap in demand for caregivers for the elderly. Therefore, there is a need to train more Taiwanese long-term caregivers.
According to a survey by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) and Ministry of Labor (MOL), the employment rate of caregivers has long stood at roughly 60 percent. Reasons for the low rate include heavy workload, poor environmental and labor conditions such as low pay and limited career development opportunities, low social status, and other structural problems discouraging Taiwan citizens from choosing to pursue a career as a caregiver and discouraging existing caregivers from continuing in this line of work.
The CY issued an investigation report regarding the aforementioned problems, as well as sent official letters to the MOHW and MOL instructing them to review the situation and make improvements. After follow-up monitoring by the CY, the employment rate of caregivers has risen to 70 percent. In addition, in April 2018, the MOHW requested all city and county governments to oversee the employer responsibilities of all long-term care organizations within their jurisdiction, as well as expressly stipulated the minimum wage for in-home caregivers, namely NT$32,000 per month or NT$200 per hour. It also stated that hourly pay for travel time between homes where the caregiver works should not be below the minimum wage level of NT$150. According to a survey conducted in November 2018, the average salary of in-home caregivers had reached NT$32,611 per month, representing an increase of more than 11 percent compared with the figure under the previous system.
In addition, the Long-Term Care Services Act of the MOHW stipulates that caregivers with certain qualifications can become supervisors of in-home care services or heads of long-term care service institutions, with the aim being to encourage promotion of caregivers and to promote entrepreneurship in the care sector. As of the end of December 2018, the total number of long-term care givers had reached 35,081, an increase of 6,664 year-on-year, thereby boosting human resources in this growing sector.
Source: Office of Control Yuan (CY), Taiwan