The number of workers in the lodging and food/beverage industry who are on official furloughs fell for a seventh consecutive week this past week due to strengthening domestic consumption, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Friday.
Still, the overall number of workers placed on official unpaid leave programs during the week rose slightly as many travel agencies continued to wait for an easing of border control measures imposed to control COVID-19, the MOL said.
The number of furloughed workers in the lodging and food/beverage industry fell to 1,503 as of Sept. 15, down 216 from 1,719 as of Sept. 7, MOL figures showed.
Overall, the number of workers placed on furlough programs reported to the MOL rose 65 from a week earlier to 16,937 as of Sept. 15, while the number of companies which had unpaid leave programs in place rose by 36 to 2,641, the MOL said.
Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛), director of the MOL’s Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment, said improving private consumption allowed a buffet restaurant chain to end its official furlough plan and reinstate about 180 workers during the work.
In addition, a hot spring hotel also ended its unpaid leave for about 60 of its workers on expectations that demand will rise in the upcoming autumn and winter seasons, Huang said.
The support services sector, which is largely comprised of travel agencies, had the largest number of furloughed workers of any sector in Taiwan with 8,866 as of Sept. 15, up from 8,822 as of Sept. 7 as Taiwan’s tight border controls remained.
If the Central Epidemic Commander Center further eases border controls in October, as has been anticipated, the lodging and food/beverage industry will get an additional boost, and the operations of travel agencies will also improve, Huang said.
The number of workers placed on unpaid leave in the manufacturing sector rose to 2,683, from 2,467 the previous week, MOL data showed.
Huang attributed the increase to a decline in orders placed to select local exporters, and said it did not signal that the manufacturing sector as a whole was suffering from weakening global demand.
The MOL updates its furloughed worker data on the 1st, 8th, 16th, and 24th of every month, reporting unpaid leave numbers for companies that have registered their furlough programs with the ministry.
Most of the enterprises implementing furlough programs are small firms that employ fewer than 50 people.
Unpaid leave programs typically last for fewer than three months, with employees taking five to eight days of unpaid leave per month, according to the MOL.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel