Taipei sees largest growth in furloughed workers in late June

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taipei saw the highest growth in the number of workers taking unpaid leave of any city or county in the last week of June as furloughed worker numbers for all of Taiwan continued to hit new COVID-19 pandemic highs.

The number of workers in Taipei who had agreed to furlough programs with their employers as of June 30 rose 917 from June 23 to 6,310, ahead of New Taipei, which added 639 workers to 4,209, according to Ministry of Labor (MOL) data.

The MOL said the growth in Taipei largely reflected an increase in furloughed workers in the retail and wholesale, transportation and logistics, hospitality and food/beverage, and tourism sectors.

For all of Taiwan, the number of furloughed workers as of June 30 totaled 31,816, up 1,311 from June 23 and the highest since November 2009 when Taiwan was starting to recover from the 2008 global financial crisis.

More than half of them were in the manufacturing sector, but their numbers only rose 11 to 16,058 in the final week of the month.

A total of 1,334 employers in Taiwan were carrying out furlough programs as of the end of June, up 106 from the previous week, MOL data showed.

Of those employers, more of them (452) were in the retail and wholesale sector than in any other industry, the MOL said.

Most of the enterprises implementing furlough programs are small enterprises with workforces of fewer than 50 people, according to the ministry.

These unpaid leave programs typically last for fewer than three months and involve employees taking five to eight days of unpaid leave per month, according to the ministry.

The MOL updates the furloughed worker data on the 1st, 8th, 16th and 24th of every month. The numbers only cover unpaid leave plans put in place by companies that are reported to the MOL.