Tue, Dec 30, 2008 - Page 12 News List

CLA launches new plan to stabilize job market in downturn


With the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) under increasing pressure in the face of large-scale layoffs and a rising unemployment rate, CLA Minister Wang Ju-hsuan (王如玄) said yesterday in the Legislative Yuan that the ministry has come up with a new plan to help stabilize the employment market and upgrade the professional skills of workers.

The “plan to enhance employment skills in the short term,” is also aimed at discouraging enterprises from laying off workers.

Under the program, enterprises that provide on-the-job training courses for their employees would be eligible to apply for subsidies of between NT$950,000 (US$28,788) and NT$1.9 million over a period of six months, depending on the size of the business.

Workers who participate in the program will also be entitled to a monthly subsidy of up to NT$10,000 over a maximum period of six months.

The subsidy will be provided to businesses on condition they maintain their workforce size, do not lay off any of the employees attending the training courses and pay their staff at least the minimum wage of NT$17,280 per month.

The CLA estimates that around 5,600 enterprises will apply to join the program, which means that the total number of subsidized workers will be 168,000. This will require a budget of around NT$15.97 billion, the CLA said.

“We expect that the government’s plans to expand domestic demand will help boost the job market next year,” Wang said when asked by legislators if unemployment would surge again once the subsidy period expires.

The government has launched a NT$500 billion plan over four years to expand domestic demand and enhance infrastructure development, which is expected to boost the employment rate and GDP.

In a coordinated effort, the Cabinet-level CLA launched a program in October to subsidize enterprises and governmental units that hire people who have been unemployed for a long time for up to six months.

To date, 13,518 people have been hired under the program, the CLA said.

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