Tue, May 03, 2016 - Page 4 News List

More workers on unpaid leave in latter half of April

Staff writer, with CNA

The number of workers on unpaid leave increased slightly in the last two weeks of last month, Ministry of Labor statistics showed yesterday.

As of Saturday, there were 598 workers on unpaid leave, an increase of 21 from the number recorded as of April 15, data showed.

The number of companies that had furlough programs in place at the end of last month was 25, compared with 21 in the first half of last month.

While one employer stopped implementing unpaid leave in the last two weeks, five others launched furlough programs, data showed.

The ministry said that most of the companies with workers on unpaid leave were small enterprises in the metal and electric industries with a workforce of less than 50 people.

Generally, employees are asked to take unpaid leave for four to eight days a month under the furlough programs, which last for three months at most.

The government has put in place a NT$20 billion (US$619.6 million) program to offer training to affected employees to upgrade their job skills in a bid to reduce the negative effects of unpaid leave.

Furloughed workers in the government program receive a stipend of NT$100 per hour to help meet their living expenses or up to a maximum of NT$12,000 per month.

The ministry has also implemented a series of online training programs for affected workers and have set up a free helpline at 0800-777888.

Amid a recession due to weak global demand, the government has been releasing furlough statistics twice a month, giving updates on the domestic labor market.

The nation saw GDP drop 0.84 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, marking the third consecutive quarter of contraction.

Inflation-adjusted exports fell 3.93 percent in the first quarter, worse than the government’s forecast of a 2.36 percent decline.

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