Number of furloughed workers down almost 6,000

07/08/2020 05:20 PM
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A woman walks past by a closed shop that was put up for rent in early July. CNA file photo
A woman walks past by a closed shop that was put up for rent in early July. CNA file photo

Taipei, July 8 (CNA) With the economic impact of COVID-19 reduced, the number of furloughed workers in Taiwan fell almost 6,000 over the past seven days, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Wednesday.

Data compiled by the ministry showed the number of workers who reached an agreement with their employers to take unpaid leave fell 5,990 from June 30 to 25,826 as of July 7.

The number of companies implementing unpaid leave programs also fell 488 from June 30 to 952 on July 7, the data indicated.

The MOL said about 50 percent of the decline in furloughed workers came from the hospitality and retail/wholesale industries, which saw a fall of 1,824 and 1,148, respectively, during the seven day period.

In Taipei, the MOL said, the number of furloughed workers fell more than 3,000, most of whom also came from the hospitality and retail/wholesale industries during the seven day period.

The ministry said improvements in the two sectors reflected a spike in consumption as many consumers appear more willing to travel and spend as the country has done well in preventing the spread of the virus.

Although the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is on the rise worldwide, Wednesday marked the 87th consecutive day with no locally transmitted cases of the disease in Taiwan.

As of July 7, the manufacturing sector recorded the largest number of furloughed workers at 15,622, ahead of 4,334 in the retail/wholesale sector, and 2,840 in the transportation/warehousing sector, the data showed.

The retail/wholesale industry saw the highest number of 304 employers with unpaid leave programs as of July 7, followed by the manufacturing sector with 299, the MOL said.

Despite the significant decline in the number of furloughed workers, Wang Wen-chieh (王文傑), chairman of Lion Travel Service Co., noted that transportation companies and travel agencies are still being impacted by COVID-19 as border controls remain in place.

Most of the enterprises implementing furlough programs are small enterprises with workforces of fewer than 50 people, according to the ministry.

These unpaid leave programs typically last for fewer than three months and involve employees taking five to eight days of unpaid leave per month, according to the ministry.

The ministry updates the furloughed worker data on the 1st, 8th, 16th and 24th of every month. The numbers only cover unpaid leave plans put in place by companies that are reported to the MOL.

(By Wu Hsin-yun, Jiang Ming-yan and Frances Huang)

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