Number of furloughed workers in Taiwan increases in September

The number of workers on unpaid leave in Taiwan in the first half of September increased by 118 from the second half of August as the economy remained slow, government statistics showed Monday.

As of Sept. 15, a total of 662 workers were on furlough, compared with 544 in the last two weeks of August, according to Ministry of Labor (MOL) data.

However, the number of employers that had unpaid leave programs in place as of Sept. 15 was 26, the same as in the second half of August, the MOL said.

This was because six employers terminated the program while six others initiated it in the first two weeks of September, the statistics indicated.

Affected by the economic slowdown, employers have been asking their workers to take one to four days of unpaid leave per month for a period of up to three months, the MOL said.

Most of the companies that had employees on unpaid leave were small enterprises with a workforce of fewer than 50 employees, according to the MOL.

Twice a month, the government releases data on furloughs to give an update on the situation in the local labor market, particularly in light of Taiwan's declining exports amid weak global demand.

To reduce the financial impact on workers who have been affected by unpaid leave, the government has implemented a NT$20 billion (US$637 million) program to offer them training to upgrade their job skills.

Under the program, the trainees receive a stipend of NT$100 per hour to help meet their living expenses, up to a maximum of NT$12,000 per month.

Employees also have the option of taking online training courses that are available on the website of the ministry's Skill Evaluation Center, the MOL said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel