The nation’s minimum monthly wage is to be raised to NT$24,000 and the minimum hourly wage to NT$160, with effect from Jan. 1 next year, the Ministry of Labor announced on Monday.
The ministry’s Minimum Wage Review Committee on Aug. 18 proposed raising the minimum monthly wage by 0.84 percent from NT$23,800 and the minimum hourly wage by NT$2 from NT$158, and the Executive Yuan approved it.
The increase was decided at the annual meeting of the Basic Wage Deliberation Committee, convened by the ministry and comprised of ministry officials, experts, and representatives of employers and employees.
According to the ministry’s estimates, 1,558,500 workers would benefit from the monthly wage increase, 1,097,700 Taiwanese and 460,800 foreigners.
As for the hourly wage hike, 524,300 workers are expected to benefit.
In other news, the ministry yesterday said that the number of furloughed workers in Taiwan fell by more than 4,500 over the past seven days, due mainly to the government’s business bailout program.
As of yesterday, 666 companies had unpaid leave programs, down from 852 a week earlier, with 15,299 workers on furlough, down 4,551 from a week earlier, ministry data showed.
Most of the decline came from the manufacturing, retail and wholesale, and transportation and warehousing industries, which saw their number of furloughed workers fall by 2,541, 1,206 and 102 respectively from a week earlier.
The sharp decline in the number of people on unpaid leave could be attributed to the government’s subsidy measures and the resumption of industrial activity, as the COVID-19 outbreak is under control in Taiwan, said Wang Chin-jung (王金蓉), a specialist at the ministry’s Labor Conditions and Equal Employment Division.
The drop occurred because many employers ended their unpaid leave programs at the end of last month and those figures were reflected in reports for the past week, she said.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs’ announcement on Tuesday last week that salary payments and operations for companies in the manufacturing industry would be subsidized also prompted businesses to adjust or end unpaid leave programs, she added.
Of the companies that still had furlough programs as of yesterday, 263 were manufacturers, 224 were retailers or wholesalers, and 37 were in the service sector, labor ministry data showed.
The majority of employees on unpaid leave worked in the manufacturing sector at 10,943, followed by the retail and wholesale industry at 2,421, and the transportation and warehousing sector at 677, the data showed.
Most of the enterprises implementing furlough programs were small firms with workforces of less than 50 people, the labor ministry said, adding that these unpaid leave programs typically last fewer than three months and involve employees taking five to eight days of unpaid leave per month.
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