Gov’t takes pre­cau­tions against rise of un­paid leave

The China Post - - LOCAL -

The gov­ern­ment has taken pre­cau­tions in case the num­ber of em­ploy­ees given un­paid leave con­tin­ues to rise, but the sit­u­a­tion re­mains far less se­ri­ous than dur­ing the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis in 2008 and 2009, public agen­cies have said.

Tai­wan’s ex­port-ori­ented econ­omy is vul­ner­a­ble to global eco­nomic volatil­ity, and a re­cent slow­down in global trade has hurt or­ders at many Tai­wanese elec­tron­ics com­pa­nies, prompt­ing them to give em­ploy­ees un­paid days off to keep costs down.

The Min­istry of La­bor (MOL) said on Thurs­day that a spe­cial fund of NT$20 bil­lion (around US$600 mil­lion) has been set aside to help com­pa­nies and em­ploy­ees fac­ing fur­loughs in case of emer­gency.

A source at the MOL’s vo­ca­tional train­ing cen­ter said that while there were no in­di­ca­tions that the num­ber of peo­ple on un­paid leave might shoot up in the fore­see­able fu­ture, the min­istry was pre­pared to use the spe­cial fund to of­fer job train­ing or other as­sis­tance.

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Spe­cial Task Force Ready

A spe­cial task force con­sist­ing of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Eco­nomic Af­fairs, La­bor, and Science and Tech­nol­ogy min­istries and the Fi­nan­cial Su­per­vi­sory Com­mis­sion that was first cre­ated in 2011 could also spring into ac­tion should the num­ber of peo­ple fur­loughed surge. The gov­ern­ment first es­tab­lished spe­cial em­ploy­ment se­cu­rity fund in 2008 to lend sup­port to fur­loughed work­ers af­ter the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis bat­tered Tai­wan’s ex­ports.

At the peak of the cri­sis in Fe­bru­ary and March 2009, over 230,000 em­ploy­ees were on un­paid leave.

The num­bers to­day are far lower, though there is still plenty of un­ease over the on­go­ing global eco­nomic dol­drums.

26 Com­pa­nies, 1,223 Em­ploy­ees

on Un­paid Leave

Ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment sta­tis­tics, 26 com­pa­nies had given a com­bined 1,233 em­ploy­ees un­paid leave in Septem­ber, the high­est num­ber for a sin­gle month since Fe­bru­ary 2014.

Most of the 26 com­pa­nies are small- and- medium en­ter­prises, the Min­istry of Eco­nomic Af­fairs (MOEA) said.

Lu Cheng- hua, the di­rec­tor­gen­eral of the MOEA’s In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Bureau, said Tai­wan has ex­pe­ri­enced declines in ex­ports over the past few months, and some man­u­fac­tur­ers have seen a drop in or­ders and are op­er­at­ing well be­low ca­pac­ity.

Gov­ern­ment agen­cies are con­cerned about the un­paid leave trend and aside from set­ting up mech­a­nisms to as­sist those af­fected, author­i­ties are also pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance to the semi­con­duc­tor, ma­chin­ery, flat panel dis­play, textile and ve­hi­cle sec­tors, hop­ing to stim­u­late ex­ports, Lu said.

Sit­u­a­tions in Science Park

At one of Tai­wan’s main high- tech hubs, the Hs­inchu Sci­ence­based In­dus­trial Park, LED and panel man­u­fac­tur­ers laid off a to­tal of 241 em­ploy­ees in Septem­ber, and only sap­phire wafer man­u­fac­turer Tera XTAL Tech­nol­ogy Corp. put em­ploy­ees on fur­lough.

A science park ad­min­is­tra­tion source said, how­ever, that not all sec­tors were fac­ing slug­gish busi­ness and some man­u­fac­tur­ers were even con­sid­er­ing ex­pand­ing their work­forces.

He cited the prospects of the so­lar energy sec­tor as hav­ing im­proved since the be­gin­ning of the third quar­ter, and man­u­fac­tur­ers of mod­ules and sil­i­con wafers were plan­ning to ex­pand pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity and in­crease em­ploy­ment.

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