Tue, Aug 04, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Number of employees on forced unpaid leave dropping: Council of Labor Affairs

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The number of workers on unpaid leave dropped another 6.9 percent over the past two weeks, the Council of Labor Affairs said yesterday.

A total of 74,468 workers remained on unpaid leave as of the end of last month, 5,499 less than on July 15, the council said.

In early March, the number of employees on unpaid leave peaked at 238,975, more than triple the current figure, it said.

Since March, the figure has decreased month on month, with 126,175 on unpaid leave as of the end of June.

Declining to say whether the reduced numbers indicated the worst was over, council officials said a rebound in orders placed by foreign buyers with local companies had contributed to the improvement.

As of the end of last month, 655 enterprises had employees on unpaid leave, down from 704 in the first half of the month.

Workers in the high-technology sector have made up the majority of those on leave.

The practice has stirred controversy. While employers say it gives them the flexibility to have staff available when business improves, labor rights groups have criticized the move because it means companies do not have to give severance pay to workers, who lose a chunk of income.

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