Deadbeat companies are named and shamed

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Deadbeat companies are named and shamed

The government released the latest details of companies that repeatedly failed to pay their employees.

According to the Ministry of Employment and Labor on Monday, 116 Korean businesses owe their workers unpaid wages of an average 66.3 million won ($56,500) over the past three years. The government will post online the names of the companies, their owners and workplace locations for three years.

Another 191 companies owe workers an average of 51.8 million won, and Korea Credit Information Services will put them on a list of companies subject to credit control for seven years. Since they owe less than the first group of companies, they will not be publicly named.

“We will do our best to resolve overdue wage issues through various measures,” said Chung Ji-won, director general of the Labor Standards Policy Bureau at the ministry. “We will punish employers who fail to pay wages according to laws while also expanding the number of people who work for a private advisory team from 140 to 187 by this year.” The team is composed of experts from the private sector, including lawyers and labor consultants. It helps the ministry deal with overdue wage issues.

By size, about 95 percent of companies have fewer than 30 employees. By industry, manufacturing companies accounted for some 31 percent, followed by construction companies at nearly 20 percent.

More than 60 percent of companies that failed to pay wages were located in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi.

The government started to release information on overdue wages in August 2012, and there are a total of 933 companies named and shamed. Another 1,544 companies are under credit sanctions as of Monday.

Meanwhile, the ministry’s Gumi branch in South Gyeongsang and the Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office said they have put a 69-year-old man who failed to pay wages to his employees under court custody on Friday.

According to the ministry, the owner of a manufacturing company failed to pay some 744 million won he owes to 54 workers.

“We found out that the man used company money to buy buildings and to pay back his loans,” Shin Gwang-chul, a director at the ministry, said in a press release on Friday.

According to Shin, who has been leading the investigation, the business owner defied 262 ministry summons.

“We found out that the man even told his employees that he can just pay fines if the ministry sues him, and this is why we thought it was necessary for prosecutors to take him into custody for further investigation,” Shin said.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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