Mon, Feb 02, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Second wave of unpaid leave expected in Taiwan

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The practice of sending workers on unpaid leave has been growing among production companies in Taiwan since October and the job market could see another wave of layoffs in the first quarter, the Internet-based 1111 Job Bank (1111人力銀行) said yesterday.

Ryan Wu (吳睿穎), chief operating officer of 1111 Job Bank, said an online survey conducted recently by his organization showed that 46 percent of office workers had been told to take up to 10 days of unpaid leave each month since October.

The survey showed that office workers sent on unpaid leave have seen their monthly wages reduced by one-third on average.

Some 20 percent have thought of looking for another job and 80 percent appeared to be depressed about the situation, the survey found.

Noting that some enterprises have asked some of their employees to take an additional month of unpaid leave following the Lunar New Year holiday, Wu said it seemed unlikely that the strategy would be dropped by the end of next month, as many people are hoping.

Meanwhile, the latest survey by the Council of Labor Affairs showed that among those enterprises that have a workforce of more than 200 people, 18 percent have resorted to unpaid leave as a means of coping with their difficulties caused by the ongoing global economic financial crisis. It was estimated that more than 200,000 office workers had been affected.

Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) statistics in late December showed that as a result of the practice, 741,000 people were working fewer than 35 hours per week in November, an increase of 205,000 people over October’s total of 536,000.

Other DGBAS figures showed the number of unemployed people in Taiwan totaled 549,000 in December, the highest since October 2003. This represented an increase of 4.64 percent over last October.

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