E-Land starts paying back held wages

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E-Land starts paying back held wages

Restaurant operator E-Land Park started paying back held wages to its part-timers on Monday.

The company, which operates 20 chains in the country including well-known family restaurants like Ashley, faced harsh public backlash last month after a government investigation revealed the restaurant operator used unlawful methods to withhold wages from its part-time workers.

In its first round of compensation, E-Land Park will return 3 billion won ($2.5 million) in back wages to about 3,000 people who worked part time at the group’s branches between October 2013 and September 2016.

The first batch of recipients filed for compensation through Nov. 30 and went through a verification process with the company to confirm the unpaid amount. This first group makes up just a small portion of part-timers stiffed by E-Land Park. According to a report released last month by the Ministry of Employment and Labor, the company failed to pay a total of 8.3 billion won to 44,360 of its employees.

The company said it hopes to finalize compensation before the year’s first half ends. “The goal is to finish by late March, but honestly we can’t make firm promises for that exact month because we have so many people to contact and confirm individually” an E-Land Park spokesman said. “The only thing we can do now is to make sure that nobody gets missed.”

Allegations that E-Land Park withheld wages first surfaced during a legislative audit of the government in October. That prompted the Ministry of Employment and Labor to conduct a wider investigation of E-Land’s 360 restaurants.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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