Taipei, Jan. 18 (CNA) The number of furloughed workers in Taiwan increased in one week as the COVID-19 pandemic imposed a further adverse impact on the local service sector, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said on Monday.
Data compiled by the MOL showed that the number of workers who agreed with their employers to take unpaid leave stood at 3,825 as of Jan. 14, up 142 from 3,683 reported on Jan. 7.
During the same period, the number of companies that implemented unpaid leave programs rose 29 to 342, the data indicated.
Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛), deputy director of the MOL's Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment, said the pandemic continued to affect the local economy, in particular travel agencies and transportation service providers due to border controls, although many employees in other industries terminated their unpaid leave programs at the end of last year.
These unpaid leave programs typically last for fewer than three months and involve employees taking five to eight days of unpaid leave per month for most industries, but travel agencies and transportation service providers have largely implemented unpaid leave for 9-12 days each month, Huang said, noting that the impact on agencies and transportation service providers in Taipei appeared more obvious.
Since COVID-19 infections have continued to escalate worldwide, Huang said, it is possible that travel agencies and transportation service providers will face prolonged difficulties in the near future, Huang said.
The MOL said the local manufacturing industry recorded the largest number of furloughed workers with 1,488 as of Jan. 14, down from 1,628 a week earlier, followed by the transportation and warehousing industry with 820, and the wholesale and retail industry with 685.
As of Jan. 14, the retail and wholesale industry had recorded the highest number of employers with unpaid leave programs at 106, up from 97 a week earlier, while 78 manufacturers had implemented unpaid leave, down from 77 a week earlier, the MOL said.
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 ministry.
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