Number of furloughed workers edges up, led by manufacturing sector

Among the companies that have furlough programs, 333 are manufacturers, 242 are retailers or wholesalers and 50 are in the service sector, according to the data. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The number of furloughed workers in Taiwan increased slightly over the past week, the majority within the manufacturing sector, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Monday.

As of that day, 820 companies had unpaid leave programs, while a total of 20,049 workers had agreed to go on furlough, up 360 from a week earlier, data compiled by the MOL showed.

Among the companies that have furlough programs, 333 are manufacturers, 242 are retailers or wholesalers and 50 are in the service sector, according to the data.

The majority of employees on unpaid leave were in the manufacturing sector at 13,968, followed by the retail and wholesale industry with 3,417, and the transportation and warehousing sector at 738.

Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛), deputy director of the MOL’s Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment, said the total number of furloughed workers during the past seven days edged up slightly over the previous week, contributed in large part by the manufacturing sector, of which the majority were in the electromechanical and chemical industries.

Although the retail/wholesale and transportation sectors continued to report furloughed workers during the past seven days, the numbers were down over the previous week, Huang said.

Most of the enterprises implementing furlough programs are small firms with workforces of fewer than 50 people, the ministry went on, noting that these unpaid leave programs typically last for fewer than three months and involve employees taking five to eight days of unpaid leave per month.

The MOL updates furloughed worker data on a weekly basis. In addition, the numbers only include unpaid leave plans put in place by companies that are actually reported to the ministry.