Public workers’ salary up, along with benefits

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Public workers’ salary up, along with benefits

The average annual salary of public regular workers in 2015 exceeded 70 million won ($57,900) for the first time after a near 5 percent increase, and their fringe benefits that were supposed to be curtailed were brought back, a parliamentary report showed Tuesday.

A report from the National Assembly Budget Office said the average yearly pay at 119 public and state-invested agencies came to just over 70 million won. It is 4.9 percent higher than the previous year, the biggest hike rate since 2012.

Employees at the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety were paid the highest with 97.64 million won a year. Workers at the Korea Power Exchange were paid the second highest with 93.33 million won, followed by the Korea Institute of Ceramic Engineering and Technology with 87.56 million won, according to the report.

The government had meant for the big salary jump to start a general trend for a bigger paycheck in hopes of spurring domestic demand. The pay raise was set at 3.8 percent for 2015, compared with under 1 percent for the two preceding years.

Among government agencies, umbrella offices under the Financial Services Commission had the highest annual salary of 83.29 million won. Next came the Korea Communications Commission (81.89 million won), offices under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (74.01 million won) and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (73.78 million won).

Employees at offices affiliated with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family were paid the lowest with 41.28 million won. Pay at the offices under the Ministry of Public Safety and Security was also relatively low at 54.45 million won, as was the pay for those under the Ministry of Health and Welfare (56.1 million won).

The report took issue with fringe benefits for public sector workers, which were reduced in 2013 as a government initiative after some agencies were found to have misused the money. The state-provided welfare fund in 2014 was reduced by 20.7 percent from the previous year.

However, just a year later in 2015, the welfare benefits ended up increasing 32.4 percent from a law revision that raised the ceiling on company-operated welfare funds per employee, the report said. Yonhap
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