Fri, Jan 04, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Workers on unpaid leave reach a three-year high

FURLOUGHED:The Ministry of Labor said that in the second half of last month, unpaid leave programs saw a net increase of two from the first half of the month

Staff writer, with CNA

The number of workers on unpaid leave in Taiwan last month hit a three-year high as the local economy shows signs of growing at a slower pace, data released by the Ministry of Labor on Wednesday showed.

As of Monday, the number of employees on unpaid leave was 3,521, up from 887 on Dec. 15, the data showed.

The number was the highest since December 2015, when it was 4,756, they showed.

The spike in the number of furloughed workers was caused by a large automaker introducing an unpaid leave program, the ministry said, without identifying the company.

However, local media reported that the company was Kuozui Motors Ltd — a joint venture between Hotai Motor Co, and Japanese firms Toyota Motor Corp and Hino Motors Ltd — which makes passenger cars and trucks under the Toyota and Hino brands.

The program affected more than 2,000 workers, the reports said.

After its inventory of passenger cars in Taiwan rose, Kuozui last month adjusted its inventory and cut the number of working days per month from eight to five, the reports said.

The reports cited Kuozui as saying that unpaid leave only affected small car production lines, with truck operations not affected.

In the second half of last month, 25 employers nationwide had unpaid leave programs, a net increase of two from the first half of the month, the ministry said, with two ending programs and four launching new programs.

In November, Taiwan’s jobless rate was 3.7 percent, down 0.05 percentage points from a month earlier, the data showed.

The government releases data on unpaid leave twice a month to provide an update on labor market conditions and the domestic economic climate.

The Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) last month said that while the pace of economic growth is moderating, the local job market was stable.

In November, the DGBAS cut the estimate for economic growth for last year by 0.03 percentage points from its August forecast to 2.66 percent and also downgraded its forecast for this year by 0.14 percentage points to 2.41 percent.

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