The number of workers on formal furlough programs continued to fall over the past week as a recovery in domestic consumption led to an improvement in the food and beverage sector amid easing COVID-19 concerns, the Ministry of Labor said on Wednesday.
The number of workers who agreed to take unpaid leave fell to 24,915 as of Tuesday, down by 619 from the previous week’s report, ministry data showed.
However, the number of companies with furlough programs rose by 37 from a week earlier to 2,989, the data showed.
Photo: I-Hwa Cheng, Bloomberg
Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment Director Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛) told reporters that the fall in the number of workers taking unpaid leave came after a large restaurant chain terminated its furlough program, reinstating more than 800 employees in the week.
As a result, the number of furloughed workers in the lodging, and food and beverage industries fell to 6,544 from 7,552 with the number of employers with unpaid leave programs falling to 368 from 391, Huang said.
During the past week, the number of furloughed workers in the retail and wholesale industry rose to 2,495 from 2,434.
With the approach of the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls in February, employment in the retail and wholesale industry is expected to improve, he said.
The results came as the latest government data released on Tuesday showed that food and beverage sales returned to annual growth last month, with sales increasing 1.4 percent year-on-year to NT$67.6 billion (US$2.43 billion), while retail sales and wholesale revenue grew 6.6 percent and 14.3 percent to NT$373 billion and NT$1.02 trillion respectively.
The number of furloughed workers in the support service industry, which is largely comprised of travel agencies, rose to 9,364 from 9,011, the ministry said.
With COVID-19 border controls in place, the figure is unlikely to fall, it added.
In the manufacturing sector, the number of workers taking unpaid leave fell to 1,134 from 1,199, ministry data showed.
The ministry updates its furloughed worker data on the first, eighth, 16th and 24th of every month. The numbers only cover unpaid leave plans that companies report to the ministry. Most of the enterprises implementing furlough programs are small firms employing fewer than 50 people.
The programs typically last for less than three months and involve employees taking five to eight days of unpaid leave per month, the ministry said.
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