Furloughed workers down as lodging, food & beverage sees recovery

08/08/2022 01:49 PM
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Crowds are seen at Keelung
Crowds are seen at Keelung's night market on Saturday. CNA photo Aug. 6, 2022

Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) The number of workers on official furlough programs in Taiwan declined by 2,634 from Aug. 1-7 to reach 18,699 amid a summer recovery for the lodging and food & beverage sector, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Monday.

The number of companies with furlough programs in place also dropped by 219 from a week earlier to 2,864, according to the MOL.

Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛), director of the MOL's Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment, told reporters that the improvement in the lodging and food & beverage sector stemmed largely from a summer vacation boost, as many parents took children on holiday or out to restaurants.

Huang said the number of workers on furlough programs in the lodging and food & beverage sector fell more than 1,700 in the past week to 3,083 as of Aug. 7, accounting for almost 70 percent of the total decline.

According to the MOL, the number of employers in the sector with furlough programs in place also fell to 316 from 415 during the week.

During the week, an all-you-can-eat restaurant terminated its unpaid leave program, a month ahead of schedule, putting more than 400 of its employees back to work, Huang said.

In addition, two medium-sized hotels in central and southern Taiwan also ended their furlough programs, placing 70-100 employees each back to work, Huang said.

Huang said the summer vacation was expected to continue to boost the lodging and food & beverage industry in the month, while the number of participants in local group tours is expected to keep growing.

Still, with COVID-19 border controls still in place, the support service sector - which is largely comprised of travel agencies - reported the largest number of workers on furlough programs at 8,818, although this was still an improvement on the 8,927 seen a week earlier, according to the MOL.

The number of furloughed workers in the retail/wholesale industry fell to 1,503 from 1,697 and the number in the transportation and warehousing industry also dropped to 1,421 from 1,507.

In the manufacturing sector, the number of workers placed on unpaid leave fell from 1,933 to 1,592 over the last week, according to the MOL.

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 less than three months, with employees taking five to eight days of unpaid leave per month, according to the MOL.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and Frances Huang)

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