Plan boosts part-time job benefits
The Korean government announced additional measures to support its plan to increase part-time jobs yesterday as a part of its effort to boost the nation’s employment rate to 70 percent by 2017.
The essence of yesterday’s measures is to give part-time workers access to national pensions.
“The government will improve the system to reduce unreasonable discrimination in part-time jobs in terms of social insurance benefits,” said Choi Kyung-hwan, deputy prime minister for economy and finance minister, at a meeting on economic affairs yesterday at the government complex in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul.
The plan must be approved by the National Assembly.
The announcement was made after a Statistics Korea report showed the pace of job creation slowed to a three-month low in September, with 451,000 people newly employed.
According to the government plan, a part-time employee who works for more than 60 hours a month at multiple workplaces would be able to subscribe to the National Pension Service.
Premiums would be calculated based on the sum of monthly wages at all part-time workplaces.
The person also would be able to sign up for Employment Insurance withholding. Such part-time workers could demand insurance coverage if they get injured or ill at work.
In the event of losing a job, the person would receive 50 percent of their monthly wages as an unemployment benefit.
Currently, part-time workers can subscribe to Employment Insurance at only one workplace.
The government also aims to hire a total of 4,603 part-time employees by 2017. They will be given the same access to the Government Employee Pension as full-timers.
The latest plan is expected to increase the financial burden on both corporations and the government, and experts say such measures might trigger abuse of the system.
For example, if a person works at a convenience store for three hours a day and another three hours at a gas station, the person would qualify for social insurances based on the sum of the two paychecks.
If the person quits one job, the person could possibly receive unemployment allowances from the government based on both jobs unless the government is notified of the change in employment status.
Later yesterday, the Ministry of Employment and Labor began considering slightly changing the plan to offer retirement allowances only if workers lose both jobs.
However, for subscribers to Employment Insurance, the rule is to offer the allowance regardless.
“The government’s plan will shake up the fundamentals of the social insurance system,” said the Korean Employers’ Federation in a statement yesterday. “The government should revise the plan, considering its ineffectiveness and adverse effects.”
Another key measure is to expand the number of childcare centers by offering incentives to companies and local governments.
Children of employees of the companies would be given priority.
Costs for teachers at such centers created by companies would be covered by the government.
Among 257 government agencies, the target ratio of female workers to the total will be raised to 18.6 percent by 2017, up from 12.7 percent last year.
How many female workers public agencies have would be reflected in their annual performance assessments beginning next year.
BY SONG SU-HYUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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