Fri, Nov 03, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Number of furloughed workers spiked in second half of last month: ministry

UNDER CONTROL:Analysts said that despite the increase in workers who have agreed to take unpaid leave, the job market has continued to improve along with the economy

Staff writer, with CNA

The number of workers in the nation on unpaid leave rose in the second half of last month, even though the local economy is on the path to a recovery, the Ministry of Labor said on Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, the number of workers who agreed with employers to take unpaid leave totaled 569, more than double the 246 recorded in the first half of last month, ministry data showed.

In the second half of the month, one employer ended an unpaid leave program, but four others launched new ones, increasing the total to 13, three more than in the first half, the data showed.

The government releases data on unpaid leave twice per month, providing updates on labor market conditions and the domestic economy.

Despite the spike in the number of furloughed workers, the situation remains under control and the job market has continued to improve at a time of ongoing economic recovery, market analysts said.

The government on Tuesday announced that the domestic economy grew 3.11 percent in the third quarter of this year, beating a forecast of 1.89 percent, on the back of solid global demand.

In September, the unemployment rate fell 0.12 percentage points from August to 3.77 percent, ministry statistics showed.

All 13 employers that implemented furlough programs did so with the consent of their employees, who agreed to take up to four days of unpaid leave each month for no more than three months, the ministry said.

Most of the companies with employees on unpaid leave have fewer than 50 employees, it added.

The government has implemented a NT$20 billion (US$662.6 million) program to reduce the financial impact of furloughs on workers, offering them job skills training, the ministry said.

Under the program, trainees receive a stipend of NT$133 per hour to help meet living expenses up to a maximum of 100 hours per month, it added.

Workers also have the option of taking online courses available on the ministry’s Skill Evaluation Center Web site, it said.

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