The number of furloughed employees on Wednesday jumped by 6,262 from seven days earlier, bringing the total number of workers on unpaid leave to 14,821, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect the economy, the Ministry of Labor said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the number of companies that have implemented unpaid leave programs reached 588, up 220 from seven days earlier, ministry data showed.
The number of furloughed employees hit the highest level since December 2011, when 13,034 workers were on unpaid leave, while the number of employers with unpaid leave programs was the highest since September 2009, when it hit 552, the data showed.
Taipei and New Taipei City registered the highest number of furloughed workers during the week at 6,727 — including 4,390 employees at 162 companies in Taipei, and 2,337 workers at 137 firms in New Taipei City.
Tainan reported 1,537 furloughed workers at 50 companies, while Taoyuan registered 1,054 at 40 firms, Kaohsiung 783 at 45 enterprises and Taichung 444 at 21, the data showed.
The manufacturing industry registered the highest number of furloughed workers at 4,874, followed by the hospitality and food and beverage industry at 4,495, and 2,101 in the wholesale and retail sector.
The number of furloughed workers in Hsinchu Science Park, one of the nation’s most important tech production hubs, rose to 704 in the week as of Wednesday, about 10 times that from a week earlier.
The latest figures showed that the pandemic has begun affecting supply chains and disrupting manufacturing operations, Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment Deputy Director Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛) said.
The ministry this month started releasing weekly data on the number of furloughed workers instead of biweekly to better reflect the real workplace situation and to quickly identify people in need, Huang added.
Most of the companies implementing unpaid leave are small enterprises that employ fewer than 50 people, the ministry said.
Unpaid leave programs typically last for fewer than three months, with employees taking five to eight days off per month, it said.
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