Sat, Dec 17, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Number of furloughed workers increases

RISING TIDE?The CLA said that 10,130 employees from 100 companies had agreed to take unpaid leave, though eight firms had broken the law in reaching such deals

Staff Writer, with CNA

The number of workers in the nation on furloughs continues to grow in response to a global economic slowdown that has hurt some firms in the high-tech sector, according to the latest data from the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) released yesterday.

As of Thursday, a total of 10,130 employees from 100 companies had reached agreements with their employers to take unpaid leave, with 9,571 of them furloughed at present, the council’s statistics showed. The latest numbers were up from Dec. 1, when 8,636 workers from 85 companies were said to have agreed to take unpaid leave with 7,994 actually on a furlough at that time.

The council releases its furlough statistics on the first and 16th days of each month.

Council of Labor Affairs Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) said that of the companies that reported having reached agreements with employees on furloughs, eight were found to have violated the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法).

Wang said they either failed to pay the monthly minimum wage, which is currently NT$17,880 and is set to rise to NT$18,780 on Jan. 1, or failed to obtain the backing of their employees for the introduction of unpaid leave.

Under Taiwan’s labor regulations, companies that furlough workers to reduce costs during slumps must still pay them the minimum wage.

Wang said the increase in the number of furloughed workers as of Thursday had moderated from an increase reported 15 days earlier and she believed the situation would improve gradually.

On Nov. 16, the council reported that 5,513 workers from 48 companies had agreed to furlough arrangements with their employers, with 5,021 of them already on leave.

About 2,400 people on unpaid leave have signed up for training courses provided by the council, while many companies are also providing employees with training to boost their competitiveness, Wang said.

The council is closely monitoring changes in the local job market and is willing to provide assistance to employers and employees to minimize the impact of the slowing economy, she said.

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