The number of workers on unpaid leave in Taiwan rose sharply to 1,604 in the second half of last month, due mainly to the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, the Ministry of Labor said yesterday.
As of Saturday, the number of workers who had agreed to go on furlough rose by 735 from 869 in the first two weeks of last month, ministry statistics showed.
The number of employers implementing unpaid leave jumped to 40, increasing from 22 in the previous two weeks, the data showed.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Labor
During the second half of the month, three employers ended their firms’ unpaid leave programs, while 21 others launched new programs agreed upon by management and employees, the data showed.
More than half of the companies with employees on unpaid leave in the final two weeks of the month were businesses in the metal and electromechanical industry, including manufacturers of parts and components for machine tools, Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment deputy director Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛) said.
Most of the companies that are implementing unpaid leave have a workforce of fewer than 50 people and the programs typically last for less than three months, with employees each agreeing to take up to four days of unpaid leave per month, Huang said.
Employers have been instructed to pay furloughed employees at least NT$23,100 per month, or the minimum wage, so they can maintain their living standards, he said.
The Workforce Development Agency has a program to subsidize firms that offer on-the-job training to furloughed workers to improve their job skills, he said.
Employers can apply for subsidies to hold training sessions, with each employee eligible for NT$158 per hour for attending a maximum 120 hours of training per month, he said.
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