Part-time job scheme gets company support

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Part-time job scheme gets company support

Samsung Group and other leading conglomerates have quickly responded to the Park Geun-hye administration’s ambitious plans to expand the job market for women and senior citizens.

Samsung, the nation’s leading conglomerate, announced it will create 6,000 high-level part-time jobs with flexible working hours. Lotte Group and Shinsegae each announced earlier that they would be hiring 2,000 part-timers with flexible working hours by the first half of next year.

The government’s plan is to make these jobs different from normal part-time jobs. Although they will still be contract positions - not staff jobs - the employees will work from four to six hours a day, choosing the hours that they want.

Additionally, the company will pay contributions to the four basic insurance systems - health, pension, employment insurance and industrial accident insurance - making the jobs closer to those of regular or noncontract workers.

Samsung said yesterday it will hire the new employees on a two-year contract and those who perform well in the first two years will be rehired. A total of 20 of its affiliates, including Samsung Electronics, will take part and the new employees will be assigned to 120 job areas, it said.

The company will be accepting applicants starting Monday and recruitment will be completed in January.

Foreigners residing in Korea are eligible to apply for the flexible work schedule jobs.

“We are expecting that it will improve the creativity of our organization by enhancing diversity of our workforce and that it will pave the groundwork for a society in which work and family are compatible,” said Samsung Group in a statement.

The company stressed that the new part-time positions are targeted at women and seniors.

“The targets are women who want to return to the job market after years of absence due to marriage and childcare,” the statement said. The second targets are retired seniors who want to make a “fresh” start by working for a limited number of hours instead of being stressed out about promotions and raises.

The positions are not low level. They require skills and knowledge, such as in software development and consulting.

The company plans to hire 1,400 people in software and hardware development and data analysis, 1,800 people specializing in market research and consulting, and 1,300 will be hired for facilities and machinery equipment inspection and management.

Lotte made a similar announcement on Tuesday saying the employees hired under its system will be given flexible shifts of four to six working hours and the company will pay the four major insurance system payments, which it doesn’t do for regular contract workers or part-timers. The retailer plans to participate in the government’s time-selective jobs fair scheduled for Nov. 26.

The government is trying to raise the country’s overall employment rate from 64.2 percent to 70 percent over the next four years, which was one of Park’s campaign pledges in last year’s presidential race.

The government said it will push for the creation of 2.38 million new jobs, and 39 percent of them, or 930,000, will be in the time-selective work system.

A key to the goal is the participation of the private sector, and to that end the government is offering tax benefits to companies who adopt the time-selective work system.

Yesterday, the government said it would shoulder the companies’ employment insurance and national pension plan payments, two of the four basic insurance policies, for employees hired in the first two years.

The government wants the system to address the low participation rate of Korean women in the labor market, a priority for the country’s first female president.


BY MOON GWANG-LIP [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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