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Rubber products maker puts 500 workers on furlough

04/01/2024 03:05 PM
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A bicycle is displayed during a press conference to promote the Plastics, Rubber, and Composite Material Fair Taiwan in Kaohsiung in 2017. CNA file photo for illustrative purpose only
A bicycle is displayed during a press conference to promote the Plastics, Rubber, and Composite Material Fair Taiwan in Kaohsiung in 2017. CNA file photo for illustrative purpose only

Taipei, April 1 (CNA) A rubber products supplier placed about 500 workers on a formal unpaid leave program in the second half of last month, boosting the total number of furloughed workers in Taiwan from the first half of the month, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Monday.

Data compiled by the ministry showed the number of furloughed workers rose by 448 from March 15 to 7,736 as of the end of the month, while the number of employers with unpaid leave programs also rose to 346 as of March 31, up 10 from 336 on March 15.

Speaking with CNA, Wu Lieh-yen (吳烈炎), a section chief of the MOL's Labor Conditions and Equal Employment Division, said the rubber product supplier, which recently put about 200 employees on furlough, placed an additional 500 employees on its unpaid leave program in the second half of March due to a fall in export orders.

The increase in furloughed workers at the rubber products supplier came as select industries in the export-oriented manufacturing sector continued to feel the pinch resulting from global demand weakness as these affected workers agreed to take one to two days off without pay, Wu said

However, other manufacturers reported an end to their furlough programs in the 15 day period, including bicycle and component makers, returning more than 200 workers to the production line, Wu added.

As of the end of March, the number of furloughed workers in the manufacturing sector rose from 6,687 on March 15 to 7,117, while the number of employers having unpaid leave programs in the sector also rose from 237 to 240, the ministry's data showed.

The MOL said industries in the service sector, such as retailers and wholesale businesses, continued to report relatively stable employment amid solid domestic consumption in the post COVID-19 era.

As of March 31, the number of furloughed workers in the retail/wholesale industry rose to 511, up only 18 from 493 on March 15.

Wu said the number of firms with unpaid leave programs in the retail/wholesale industry rose from 62 to 68 over the past 15 days, most being small sized businesses.

The number of furloughed workers in the lodging and food/beverage industry stood at six as of March 31, up from four on March 15, while the number in the support service industry, which is comprised of travel agencies, fell from 38 to 37, MOL data showed.

Judging from the job market in the first quarter of this year, employment showed signs of stabilizing from the end of last year. As of Dec. 31, the number of furloughed workers stood at 9,764 according to the ministry.

Currently, the MOL updates its furloughed worker data on the 1st and 16th of every month and reports on the number of employees placed on leave by companies registered with the ministry.

Most 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 Chang Hsiung-feng and Frances Huang)

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