Number of furloughed workers increases in manufacturer sector
Taipei, Oct. 3 (CNA) The local export-oriented manufacturing sector saw an increase in furloughed workers over the past week amid weakening global demand, which boosted the total number of workers placed on official unpaid leave by 390, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Monday.
Data compiled by the MOL showed the number of furloughed workers in the manufacturing sector totaled 3,434 as of Sept. 30, up 186 from 3,248 as of Sept. 25, while the number of manufacturers which introduced unpaid leave rose from 200 from 207.
Overall, the number of workers placed on furlough programs reported to the MOL rose from 17,660 a week earlier to 18,050 as of Sept. 30, while the number of companies with unpaid leave programs rose by 47 to 2,734, the MOL said.
Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛), director of the MOL's Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment, said during the week, a tool machine exporter reported to the MOL an increase of about 140 furloughed workers in the wake of a fall in orders from foreign buyers.
An IC packaging and testing services provider also reported an additional 30 in furloughed workers in the week to the MOL, Huang added.
Based on the information the MOL has, the two manufacturers represent isolated cases, Huang said, adding that it remains to be seen whether weakening global demand has affected the entire sector.
The MOL will work with the Ministry of Economic Affairs to provide necessary assistance to affected manufacturers, Huang said.
Despite a weaker manufacturing sector, many in the support services industry, which is largely made up of travel agencies, said they are planning to terminate unpaid leave programs in October with Taiwan set to reopen to foreign visitors on Oct. 13, with no quarantine required on arrival.
It is possible that the number of furloughed workers will fall significantly when the next report is released in one weeks's time, Huang said.
As of Sept. 30, the number of furloughed workers in the support services industry rose slightly from 8,909 to 8,971 as of Sept. 25 with the number of employers implementing unpaid leave programs rising from 1,481 to 1,494, the MOL said.
In the week, the number of furloughed workers in the retail/wholesale business and the transportation/warehousing industry rose to 1,520 and 1,249, respectively, from 1,439 and 1,231, while the number in the lodging and food/beverage industry fell from 1,568 to 1,567, the MOL added.
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
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