Sep 02, 2019 Market Comments Off on Number of furloughed workers in Taiwan hits year’s high
Taipei-The number of workers on unpaid leave in Taiwan as of the end of August hit a new high for 2019, at a time when the local economy has been affected by the escalating trade friction between the United States and China, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Monday.
Data compiled by the MOL showed the number of employees on unpaid leave as of Aug. 31 was 2,257, the highest so far this year, up 245 from Aug. 15.
The government releases data on unpaid leave twice a month to provide an update on labor market conditions and the domestic economic climate.
As of the second half of last month, a total of 33 employers around the country had unpaid leave programs with the agreement of their employees, up by seven from the first half of last month, according to the data.
During the 15-day period, three of the employers ended their unpaid leave programs but 10 others launched new programs agreed upon by management and employees, bringing the total to 33, the data showed.
Among the 33 firms with unpaid leave programs, 13 came from the metal/electromechanical industry in the 15 days, four from the information and electronics industry and two from the chemical industry, while the remaining 14 were from various industries, the MOL said.
Although the local tourism industry has cried foul about a decline in Chinese visitor arrivals, in particular after China banned visits by independent Chinese tourists to Taiwan, starting Aug. 1, the latest furloughed worker data did not cover any local travel agencies, the MOL said.
Most of the companies with employees on unpaid leave were small enterprises with workforces of fewer than 50 and their unpaid leave programs lasted for less than three months, with the consent of employees, who agreed to take up to four days of unpaid leave each month, the MOL said.
Commenting on the latest furloughed worker report, Labor Minister Hsu Ming-chun (???) said after consulting with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the MOL found the local job market has been affected not only by the global trade issues but also industry related problems. However, Hsu did not detail the problems for individual industries.
Hsu urged employers to step up efforts to provide employees affected by unpaid leave programs with on-the-job training in a bid to boost their competitive edge and prevent them from sitting idle.
The ministry will provide financial assistance to employers who are willing to offer on-the-job training programs, she said.
The MOL has already launched a program to reduce the financial impact of the furloughs on workers, offering them training to upgrade their job skills.
Employees also have the option of taking online training courses available at the MOL's Skill Evaluation Center website, the ministry said.
According to the ministry, despite the unpaid leave programs, employers have been instructed to pay their employees no less than the minimum wage, which currently stands at NT$23,100 (US$736) per month, in a bid to maintain the affected workers' living standards.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel