Forty-five companies have sent a total of 5,292 employees on unpaid leave so far this month, the highest number in three years, according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Labor yesterday.
It was the greatest number of people on unpaid leave in the nation since the end of December 2012, when 4,450 were asked by their employers to take time off without pay.
According to the ministry, the number of workers in Taiwan on unpaid leave has remained greater than 1,000 since Sept. 30, reflecting the nation’s sluggish economy amid slumping global trade demand.
Taiwan’s high-tech sector, which relies heavily on exports, has been among the sectors that have seen a slowdown in orders and a need to save money by having workers take leave without pay.
The Ministry of Science and Technology yesterday reported that 788 employees from three major high-tech hubs have been sent on unpaid leave this month, with 621 of them working in the Central Taiwan Science Park.
The Hsinchu Science Park and the Southern Science Park in Tainan also saw small upticks in furloughed workers to 109 and 58 respectively.
Chiu Chiu-hui (邱求慧), the official responsible for science parks at the science and technology ministry, said the three science parks might post negative growth for last month because of the lackluster global economy.
However, he said that the nation’s economy was moving in a better direction and he still saw a chance for the three science parks to report growth for the whole year.
The three science parks reported revenue of NT$1.13 trillion (US$34.22 billion) in the first half of this year, up 6.47 percent year-on-year, according to the science and technology ministry.
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