In order to continually improve the Farmer Occupational Injury Insurance Program (FOII), the Council of Agriculture (COA) is set to incorporate 2 new additional measures to the program from May 1, 2021. The new option of “Extra Injury Benefits” will be available to farmers, which provides double amount of injury benefit payments after the accident occurs. On the other hand, the new policy regulation also grants temporary or part-time agricultural workers (those who do not work on their own or leased farmland on a permanent basis, but rather hired for their skills to work on regional agriculture production related works) access to the coverage of FOII program.
The COA stated that to further enhance the occupational safety of the farmers and provide economic compensation against occupational injuries, the FOII provides the following 4 benefits: injury benefits, medical care allowances, disability benefits, and funeral grants to farmers who suffer accidental injuries such as broken bones, heat stroke, acute pesticide poisoning, and other occupational hazards incurred while engaging in agricultural tasks, or when operating farming equipment. The insured farmers only need to pay NTD 15 of monthly insurance premium after being subsidized by the government. Of the 4 benefits, injury benefits are paid to the insured when he/she becomes incapable of working due to injuries incurred when practically engaged in farming activities and consequently suffers from the loss or reduction of income. The insured shall be entitled to injury benefits from the 4th day after being incapacitated for work, for a maximum period of 2 years.
The COA further explained that the current rate of Injury Benefits is NTD 238/day for the 1st year, and NTD 170/day for the 2nd year. In the future, Injury Benefits will be further separated into Basic Injury Benefits and Extra Injury Benefits to better suit the practical needs of injured farmers during their period of recovery by allowing farmers to adopt the scheme according to their income and desire. Those who participate in the Extra Injury Benefits will be able to receive double the basic compensation for only an extra NTD 5 per month. Therefore, if the insured pays NTD 20 per month, he/she is entitled to receive NTD 476/day in the 1st year, and NTD 340/day in the 2nd year after suffering injuries. The COA also reminds all the participants of the FOII that they can apply for adjustments of their current scheme in May and in November of each year. Changes will become effective in the next month after they submit the applications to relevant farmers associations. For those who are interested in making the adjustments, please do not forget to do so in May.
The COA pointed out the fact that due to agriculture’s regional, seasonal, and cyclical attributes, its production relies mainly on manual labor. Furthermore, cultivation management and harvest operations require technical skills; therefore, a number of farmers do not engage in agricultural production on their own or leased farmland on a permanent basis, but rather dedicate themselves to regional temporary agriculture related works by lending their professional agriculture skills. From May 1st, these agricultural professionals would also be eligible to participate in FOII program by submitting their applications through farmers associations in the area where their household registry is registered.
The COA said that since FOII program’s trial implementation on Nov. 1st, 2018 till Mar. 31st, 2021, the total number of farmers that joined the FOII program has reached more than 287,000, with an average insured rate of 27.66%. There are more than 7,000 approved FOII claim cases which amount to more than NTD 130 million. The recent amendment to the Farmer Occupational Injury Insurance Act aims to further benefit farmers by adding 2 new measures which would come into effect on May 1st, 2021.