A new high of 1,047 companies have furloughed employees over the week ended on Thursday, the first time the number has exceeded 1,000 since January 2009, when records began, the Ministry of Labor said yesterday.
Last week, the ministry reported that 922 companies had furloughed employees as a result of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 19,000 employees were on unpaid leave during the week from Friday last week to Thursday — an increase over the previous week’s 18,840 workers and a 10-year high since November 2009, when the figure hit 19,948, ministry data showed.
By industry, the manufacturing sector had 7,247 workers on furlough over the past week, the most of any sector, the data showed.
The hospitality and restaurant sector followed, with 3,950 employees on temporary leave, and the wholesale and retail sector, with 3,677.
The hospitality and restaurant sector registered a noticeable drop in the number of furloughed workers from 4,304 the previous week, a ministry official said, pointing to the government subsidy program that does not allow participating employers to lay off workers or cut their hours.
Most of the companies using the unpaid leave system in Taiwan in the past few months have workforces of fewer than 50 people who have been required to take an extra day or two off per week due to the effects of the pandemic, the ministry said.
The figures only cover companies that have reached furlough agreements with employees and have reported them to the ministry. They do not include businesses that have forced workers to take unpaid time off without going through the ministry’s system.
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