Taipei, Nov. 24 (CNA) The number of workers on formal furlough programs in Taiwan continued to trend lower during the past week as a recovery in domestic consumption has led to an improvement in the food and beverage industry amid eased COVID-19 concerns, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Wednesday.
The number of workers who agreed to take unpaid leave fell to 24,915 as of Nov. 23, down by 619 from the last report released on Nov. 16, according to data compiled by the MOL.
However, the number of companies with furlough programs in place rose by 37 from a week earlier to 2,989, the data indicated.
Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛), director of the MOL's Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment, told reporters that the fall in the number of workers taking unpaid leave came after a large restaurant chain terminated its furlough program, reinstating more than 800 employees in the week.
As a result, the number of furloughed workers in the lodging and food and beverage industry fell to 6,544 from 7,552 in one week with the number of employers having unpaid leave programs in place falling to 368 from 391, said Huang.
During the past week, the number of furloughed workers in the retail and wholesale industry rose to 2,495 from 2,434. As the Lunar New Year holiday, which will fall in February, is approaching, employment in the retail and wholesale industry is expected to improve, said Huang.
The number of furloughed workers in the support service industry, which is largely comprised of travel agencies, rose to 9,364 from 9,011, according to the MOL, which said that with border controls in place, this number is unlikely to fall.
In the manufacturing sector, the number of workers taking unpaid leave fell to 1,134 from 1,199 in the week, the MOL's data showed.
The ministry updates its furloughed worker data on the 1st, 8th, 16th, and 24th of every month.
However, these numbers only cover unpaid leave plans put in place by companies that are reported to the ministry. Most of the enterprises implementing furlough programs are small firms employing fewer than 50 people.
These unpaid leave programs typically last for less than three months and involve employees taking five to eight days of unpaid leave per month, according to the MOL.