Taiwan to subsidize furloughed workers amid virus crisis

Furloughed workers participating in training program will receive subsidy of up to NT$18,960 per month

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(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) —Taiwan’s Cabinet on Thursday (March 5) approved a bundle of job security measures proposed by the Ministry of Labor (MOL) to assuage the coronavirus outbreak's impact on the industry, including salary subsidies of up to NT$11,000 (US$360) for furloughed workers, on top of the minimum wage guaranteed to them for three to six months.

The package has a total budget of NT$4.13 billion, aimed to benefit furloughed workers, the unemployed, businesses, and micro-business entrepreneurs, CNA reported.

The package includes NT$1 billion for a salary subsidy program for furloughed employees. The program will guarantee that they are paid 50 percent of their salary loss based on their insured salary, the report said.

For example, a furloughed worker with an insured salary of NT$45,899 would normally receive a minimum wage of NT$23,800, which means they have lost NT$22,099, according to Shih Chen-yang (施貞仰), deputy director-general of the Workforce Development Agency. Therefore, under the program, that worker would receive a salary subsidy equal to 50 percent of their lost salary (NT$22,099), which amounts to NT$1,1000 a month. Furloughed workers will be eligible for this salary subsidy for three to six months.

In the event the coronavirus outbreak becomes more serious, a furloughed worker who also participates in a training program will receive a subsidy of up to 70 percent of their lost insured salary, or in the above case, NT$15,400 a month, on top of the minimum wage for three to six months, according to the report.

With regard to the training subsidy for furloughed workers, a short-term plan with a budget of NT$500 million was implemented at the end of February to fund training programs and subsidize the workers who participate in them.

The subsidy for those who sign up for the three-month program amounts to NT$158 an hour and applies to a maximum of 120 hours of training per month, totaling NT$18,960 a month, Su said.

According to MOL statistics, as of March 3, a total of 1,951 workers have been furloughed by 49 businesses in Taiwan.