Over 1,000 workers placed on furlough in Sept.: MOL
The Ministry of Labor ( ) said Thursday that 26 businesses had placed a total of 1,233 employees on involuntary unpaid leave during September.
The September figure is the most furloughs reported in a single month since the beginning of this year, as well as the first time since last February that a monthly figure has exceeded 1,000.
On Wednesday, Labor Minister Chen Hsiung- wen ( ) announced a NT$20 billion fund that would be authorized once the number of workers on unpaid leave reached 1,000.
The fund would be used to subsidize vocational training for furloughed employees and other employment support, Chen said at the Legislative Yuan.
On Wednesday, Chen had said that latest available data showed 19 businesses had placed 783 employees on unpaid leave so far in September.
In Tech and Traditional Sectors
Government regulations allow enterprises to place employees on furlough for up to three months.
According to Ministry of Labor data released yesterday, 26 registered businesses had placed 1,233 employees on furlough in September, up 84 percent from 669 workers in August.
The businesses implementing the furloughs were mainly small and medium- sized enterprises in traditional i ndustries and electronics.
Among the businesses using furloughs were one firm in each of Taiwan’s three major science parks, according to the report.
Furlough figures are only a part of jobs data and alone do not signal Taiwan’s industrial downturn. Other employment data, including mass layoff figures and unemployment benefits claims, need to be analyzed before any conclusion is made, ministry officials stressed at a press conference in Taipei.
‘Not particularly high’:
The Labor Ministry said that while September’s furlough rate is up 84 percent from August, the increase is in line with past annual patterns.
“Furlough rates tend to peak around the end of the year and the start of the next year,” said Lee I-hsuan ( ), a section chief at the Ministry of Labor.
“So far this year’s situation is still relatively stable. Compared to (furlough use) in the past, it is not particularly high.”
Since 2011, the Ministry of Labor has released its latest data on furlough usage on the first day and the middle of every month.
Since the beginning of this year, around 5,000 workers have been placed on unpaid leave, according to government statistics.
The ministry said that the total number of workers placed on furlough each year is easily 5,000 people and has occasionally exceeded 10,000.