Number of furloughed workers in Taiwan edges up

Taiwan sees slight increase in workers on unpaid leave amid border restrictions

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Many Taiwanese workers have been forced to take unpaid leave in 2020. 

Many Taiwanese workers have been forced to take unpaid leave in 2020.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The number of furloughed workers in Taiwan has increased slightly over the past seven days due mainly to border restrictions put in place by governments around the world in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to data revealed by the Ministry of Labor (MOL) on Wednesday (Sept. 16), 840 domestic companies have introduced unpaid leave, and 16,865 Taiwanese have agreed to go on furlough, up 1,566 from a week earlier. Unlike in previous weeks, the latest increase was not in the manufacturing sector but rather the hospitality, transportation, and warehousing industries.

Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛), deputy director of the MOL's Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment, said the slight increase in furloughed workers can be attributed to ongoing border controls. He said many travel agencies, hotels, and airlines have been forced to expand their furlough schemes and even lay off employees to ease the economic impact of the outbreak.

Huang pointed out that among the 840 Taiwanese companies with furlough programs, 160 are in Taipei, and 2,000 workers are currently on unpaid leave. He said since most of these companies rely on foreign tourists as their main source of income, the pandemic has made it difficult for them to survive.

However, Huang said the number of furloughed workers in Taiwan has dropped considerably since May. He added that many medium-sized and large firms have resumed normal operations and that the government is hopeful smaller businesses will gradually recover as well, reported CNA.