By: Wu Po-wei, Pan Tzu-yu and Chiang Yi-ching
Taipei, April 20 (CNA) The number of furloughed employees in Taiwan topped 15,000 last Friday due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Deputy Labor Minister Liu Shih-hao (劉士豪) said Monday.
As of April 17, 636 companies had unpaid leave programs, while a total of 15,634 workers had agreed to go on furlough, nearly double the number of workers reported to be on furlough as of April 1, according to Liu.
That is the most for any reporting period since the formal unpaid leave system began in 2011 under which companies must reach furlough agreements with workers and pay them at least the minimum wage (currently NT$23,800).
At the peak of the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, before the formal reporting system was put in place, the number of workers on unpaid leave peaked at nearly 239,000 in February 2009.