Travel agencies in Taiwan reported the highest growth in the number of workers on official unpaid leave programs over the past week, as the number of furloughed workers continued to rise amid record numbers of local COVID-19 infections, the Ministry of Labor said yesterday.
Ministry data showed the number of furloughed workers in the support service industry, largely comprised of travel agencies, was 8,677 as of Saturday, up 272 from a report released on Monday last week.
The number of employers in the support service industry with furlough programs in place also rose during the week from 1,378 to 1,412, the data showed.
Nationwide, the number of workers on unpaid leave rose to 14,805, up 407 from a week earlier, the ministry said, adding that the number of companies with furlough programs in place also rose by 85 from a week earlier to 2,355.
Labor Conditions and Equal Employment Division deputy head Wang Chin-jung (王金蓉) said the increase in furloughed workers in the support service industry was the major factor driving the increase in workers on furlough last week.
Most of the travel agencies that introduced furlough programs over the past week were small and medium-sized firms, Wang said.
The support service industry had the highest number of furloughed workers as well as the largest number of employers introducing unpaid leave programs.
The number of furloughed workers in the manufacturing sector went against the trend, falling from 1,357 to 1,259 after a machinery provider ended its furlough program, taking about 200 workers off of unpaid leave, Wang said.
However, the number of employers in the sector with furlough programs in place rose from 104 to 109, the ministry said.
A semiconductor supplier also placed about half of its 200 employees on unpaid leave last week due to a shortage of production material supplies, she added.
The surge in domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases had raised concerns about its effects on hospitality and wholesale businesses, but these sectors only had a rise of about 40 and 50 furloughed workers respectively during the week, Wang said.
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