Generally speaking, based on the Constitutional principle of legal reservation, even if the government’s administrative measures do not limit the people’s freedom and rights, once the said measures involve significant matters such as the public interest or get in the way of a person’s fulfillment of his or her fundamental civilian rights, the agency in charge may not codify regulations in associated with the aforesaid measures unless they are formulated according to relevant laws or evident legal authority (see Judicial Yuan Interpretations No. 443, No. 614, and No. 658). Education is the bedrock of a country’s societal development, and teachers take upon themselves the mission of nurturing elites for the nation; thus, the virtue or vice of executing educational work is highly pertinent to the results of education as a whole, and this will also indirectly affect people’s right to education. For the purpose of allowing teachers to fully commit themselves to their educational work and therefore aim for educational improvements, the government should help to ensure the quality of life and standard of teaching for teachers. Article 165 of the Constitution specifies that our nation ought to secure the life of educational workers, and to raise their salary or welfare benefits if the nation’s economic growth allows it. The degree of compensation shall also be factored in when it comes to judging the full package of the compensation offered to teachers so as to make sure that their standing is protected. This is clearly stipulated in the Constitution, and as long as the compensation is outside of the realm of property rights specified in Article 15, it is deemed to be a significant matter involving the public interest. Consequently, in order to comply with the Constitution, matters relating to teachers’ welfare and compensation must be regulated by means of laws or according to orders issued by evident legal authorities.
Only Article 19 of the Teachers’ Act has regulations applicable to the compensation of teachers (though the full Act has not yet entered into force). No other Articles of the Teacher’s Act nor any other laws have yet codified anything related to the said topic. The Ministry of Education promulgated the Regulations for the Compensation of Public School Faculty and Staff (including their Annex and Standard Table) on September 13, 1973, and it further amended the said Regulations for the Compensation of Public School Faculty and Staff (hereafter “the Regulation at issue”) on December 22, 2004 as the basis (refer to Article 1 of the Regulation at issue) for handling compensation problems related to teachers of public high school and lower levels (hereafter “the aforesaid teachers”) before any laws covering teacher’s welfare or compensation had been completely enacted. Although the Regulation at issue was intended as a temporary mechanism before the enactment of relevant laws on teacher’s welfare or compensation, an approach of this kind should not arbitrarily be permitted to remain in force for long. The Regulation at issue was promulgated in 1973 and has been in force since then. Within this time, both Article 20 of the Teachers’ Act (promulgated on August 9, 1995, though the Executive Yuan never stated the date at which it should come into force), as well as Article 8 Paragraph 1 of the Educational Fundamental Act (promulgated on June 23, 1999) clearly state that teacher’s welfare and compensation shall be governed by law, but until now this task has not yet been carried out. The Regulation at issue regulates the aforementioned ranking, amount and standard of compensation of a teacher’s salary. It also states the highest salary scale according to the teacher’s rank and relevant matters regarding changes to the compensation when a higher academic degree has been achieved while one is still on the job. Due to the importance of the above regulatory items, and their being related to the welfare benefits and earnings of teachers, these relevant provisions are closely bound to the security of teachers’ property rights and to the public interest. Thus, if any incident involving these provisions was to be approved and publicized without any authorization in law, there is then an obvious violation against the principle of legal reservation within the Constitution.
The petitioner for this Interpretation merely argued about the part that was based upon Article 5 Paragraph 1 of the Standard Table for the Compensation of Public School Faculty and Staff (hereinafter “Standard Table at issue”), which was relevant to the abovementioned matter regarding change of compensation when a teacher has received a higher degree while on the job, and the said compensation change was recalculated based on the higher academic degree. Based on the Standard Table at issue, the petitioner challenged that the Authority, while making a change in the compensation offered, did not take into account the petitioner’s excellent service or the evaluation of his teaching during the petitioner’s advanced study period. For this reason, the Standard Table at issue was deemed unconstitutional in the petitioner’s case, and therefore a statutory interpretation was requested. The Standard Table for the Compensation of Public School Faculty and Staff served as the second appendix to the Regulation at issue, and thus should be viewed as part of the Regulation at issue. Given that the Regulation at issue violated the Constitutional principle of legal reservation, the Yuan ought to precisely interpret the Regulation at issue (refer to Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 289). Furthermore, the abovementioned system of teacher’s welfare and compensation shall be regulated by means of laws or according to orders issued by legal authorities. To comply with this requirement, a certain period of time is needed for proper planning, and the relevant authorities should promulgate laws regarding teacher’s welfare and compensation in accordance with this Interpretation within three years after this Interpretation has been announced. By doing so, it is expected that the matter of teacher’s welfare and compensation may be legalized. If the task is not finalized after the said three-year period, the part relating to teachers of public high school and lower levels within the Regulation at issue shall be nullified.
＊ Translated by Marie C.Y. LI.