La­bor Min­istry read­ies NT$20 bil. to tackle un­paid leave sit­u­a­tion

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

La­bor Min­is­ter Chen Hsi­ung­wen ( ) said Wed­nes­day that the min­istry has “am­mu­ni­tion ready” to grap­ple with a pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tion of mas­sive un­paid fur­loughs for lo­cal em­ploy­ees.

Chen said the min­istry has pre­pared a fund of NT$20 bil­lion (US$604.86 mil­lion) to sub­si­dize em­ploy­ees who opt to en­gage in train­ing cour­ses dur­ing their fur­loughs, but he added his hope that it will not have to use the money.

He made the re­marks on the side­lines of a leg­isla­tive hear­ing when asked about re­cent re­ports of high-tech en­ter­prises lay­ing off staff or ask­ing them to take un­paid fur­lough.

Chen said he has re­ceived in­for­ma­tion that not only com­pa­nies in the high-tech in­dus­try, but also a lot of con­ven­tional sec­tors in South­ern Tai­wan have sus­pended busi­ness or have laid off staff.

Min­istry sta­tis­tics show that 226 en­ter­prises have had mas­sive lay­offs since the be­gin­ning of this year, to­tal­ing 11,448, up 4,000 from last year. The num­ber of those who claimed their first un­em­ploy­ment pay­ments was more than 9,000 this year, or be­tween 4,000 and 5,000 higher than last year.

The rea­son could be at­trib­uted to Tai­wan’s fifth con­sec­u­tive de­cline in ex­ports, de­mon­strat­ing the im­pact on the in­dus­tries of an ex­port-ori­ented coun­try.

Chen said he did not think that the sit­u­a­tion this time could be as bad as dur­ing the 2008 fi­nan­cial cri­sis, when 230,000 peo­ple from 900 en­ter­prises were put on un­paid fur­lough.

783 Work­ers on Un­paid Leave

He said that so far, 783 staff from 19 en­ter­prises have been put on un­paid fur­lough, while more than 200 en­ter­prises have laid off around 10,000 peo­ple.

“There are some signs, but (the sit­u­a­tion) should not be as se­ri­ous as dur­ing the fi­nan­cial cri­sis,” he said.

He noted that the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion is not en­tirely un­der the min­istry’s con­trol, but is “ready with a lot of am­mu­ni­tion and will work closely with the Min­istry of Eco­nomic Af­fairs.”

He said the min­istry ac­cu­mu­lated a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence from the 2008 fi­nan­cial cri­sis, when it pre­pared fund­ing of NT$30 bil­lion to help those on un­paid leave or who were laid off to tide them over their dif­fi­cul­ties.

Chen said that what the min­istry can do is pre­pare re­sources to help em­ploy­ees so that they can re­ceive sub­si­dies for train­ing while on un­paid leave.

On when the mea­sures will be un­veiled, Chen said the min­istry will ob­serve the sit­u­a­tion over time, adding that when the num­ber of peo­ple on un­paid leave — cur­rently at around 700 — reaches 1,000, the min­istry might step in.

He also pointed out that the cur­rent high un­em­ploy­ment could be at­trib­uted to a lot of col­lege stu­dents freshly out of school and look­ing for work.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.