CORONAVIRUS/Tight border controls send furloughed worker numbers higher
Taipei, Oct. 18 (CNA) The number of workers in formal furlough programs in Taiwan rose last week as strict border controls imposed to keep COVID-19 out took a toll on the transportation and tourism sectors, the Ministry of Labor said (MOL) said Monday.
Data compiled by the MOL showed the number of workers on unpaid leave programs registered with the ministry rose 1,650, from 27,050 as of Oct. 7 to 28,700 as of Oct. 15.
In addition, the number of companies with furlough programs in place also rose by 126 in one week to 3,047, the data indicated.
Li Yi-hsuan (李怡萱), a specialist with the MOL's Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment, said the ongoing border controls continued to affect the transportation industry, in particular international flights.
The support service industry, which is largely comprised of travel agencies, also felt the pinch, Li said.
In the transportation and warehousing industry, the number of workers on unpaid leave programs rose to 2,261 last week from 1,861 a week earlier, while the number of companies having furlough programs in place grew to 130, from 121, the MOL said.
In the support service industry, 9,328 workers took unpaid leave, up from 9,011 a week earlier, and the number of employers having furlough programs rose to 1,308, from 1,280 previously, the MOL added.
These two sectors are expected to continue to be affected by Taiwan's tight border controls, Li said.
In the lodging and food/beverage industry, the number of workers in furlough programs rose to 8,899, from 8,343 a week earlier as a large-scale restaurant chain continued to implement its unpaid leave program.
The number of employers in the industry also rose to 457, from 441 previously.
Li said that as long as the COVID-19 situation in Taiwan stays stable, employment in consumer-oriented sectors, such as lodging and the food/beverage sector, will improve.
The ministry updates its furloughed worker data on the 1st, 8th, 16th, and 24th of every month.
Most of the enterprises implementing furlough programs are small firms employing fewer than 50 people.
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 MOL.
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