Number of furloughed workers tops 8,700

04/09/2020 11:04 AM
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Taipei, April 8 (CNA) The number of furloughed employees in Taiwan rose more than 800 in seven days to surpass 8,700 as of Wednesday, at a time when the COVID-19 contravirus has affected the economy, according to the Ministry of Labor (MOL).

Data compiled by the MOL showed that a total of 8,739 workers had agreed with their employers to go on unpaid leave, up 823 from the end of March. The number of furloughed employees hit a high since February 2012, the data indicates.

As of Wednesday, the MOL said, 370 companies came up with unpaid leave programs, up from 62 from seven days earlier.

Most of the companies implementing unpaid leave are small enterprises with workforces of fewer than 50 people, according to the MOL.

Their unpaid leave programs typically last for fewer than three months and have their employees take five to eight days of unpaid leave per month, the MOL said.

In terms of the number of furloughed workers, the hospitality and food/beverage sector was hardest-hit, with 2,979 on unpaid leave, ahead of the metal and electromechanical sector with 2,302 and the wholesale and retail sector with 1,072, the MOL said.

In terms of the number of employers that had unveiled unpaid leave programs, the hospitality and food/beverage sector also topped other sectors at 94, the MOL said.

As of March 31, a total of 7,916 workers in 308 companies had agreed to go on unpaid leave, up from 3,835 at 109 enterprises in the first two weeks of March.

The MOL said that although the latest figure showed signs that the growth of furloughed employees was slowing, it still needs time to observe the economic climate for a better understanding about whether the trend will continue.

In February, Taiwan's jobless rate remained relatively stable despite the growing concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus, up 0.06 percentage points from a month earlier at 3.70 percent.

(By Chang Hsiung-feng and Frances Huang)

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