CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan unveils plan to tackle workplace concerns amid COVID-19 outbreak
Taipei, March 5 (CNA) The Executive Yuan on Thursday approved a package of measures worth NT$4.125 billion (US$137.95 million) to address employment concerns as local industry deals with the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The Ministry of Labor (MOL) rolled out the plan as part of the employment stabilization program, with the money coming from the employment stabilization fund and employment insurance fund.
Under the program, subsidies will be given to employees on unpaid leave, unemployed workers, enterprises and microbusiness startups that hire furloughed and unemployed workers.
According to the ministry's proposals, companies implementing unpaid leave can apply for NT$3.5 million in subsidies to hold training sessions, with each employee eligible to receive NT$158 per hour for attending a maximum 120 hours of training per month, with the program lasting a maximum of three months.
Meanwhile, employees who have their work hours reduced can receive a maximum of NT$11,000-NT$15,400 per month in wage subsidies for three to six months.
As for unemployed workers, in addition to existing unemployment benefits, the government plans to expand subsidies for students with unemployed parents for the spring semester. Applications for the subsidies were scheduled to end March 20 but to tackle the coronavirus impact, an additional NT$60 million will be allocated to the program with applications allowed from April 15 to May 31, according to Shih Chen-yang (施貞仰), deputy director general of the Workforce Development Agency.
In addition, to help unemployed workers return to the workplace, a total of NT$600 million will be earmarked to subsidize employers who hire the unemployed.
Companies that hire people who have been unemployed for more than 30 days will receive a monthly subsidy of NT$5,000 for each individual hired for a maximum of six months.
Meanwhile, those that hire certain categories of workers who have been unemployed for more than 30 days, such as seniors or individuals with physical or mental disabilities, will receive NT$11,000-NT$13,000 per month for a maximum of one year.
Employers who hire those who have been out of work for more than three months will receive NT$9,000 per month for each employee hired for a maximum of one year.
If the coronavius outbreak gets worse, the government will roll out a plan for short term employment in the public sector. Under this plan, NT$1.782 billion will be used to subsidize central or local government agencies that hire employees, with NT$23,800 per month in wage subsidies on offer for each employee hired, for three to six months.
The government will also provide a maximum of NT$2 million to help businesses that implement unpaid leave and seek to improve workplace safety during the furlough period, with NT$24 million to help finance enterprises that roll out plans offering child care and other subsidies to employees.
Moreover, to encourage microbusiness startups, unemployed people aged 20 and older or new startups established after Jan. 15, 2020 can apply for a maximum NT$2 million preferential loan on which principal and interest repayments will be temporarily suspended.
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