Study says hires will burden gov’t

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Study says hires will burden gov’t

President Moon Jae-in’s plan to hire more civil servants could become a significant financial burden for the Korean government, a civic group advocating responsible government spending said in a report Wednesday.

The group, the Korea Taxpayers’ Association, found that it costs 120 trillion won ($106.9 billion) a year to pay for all civil servants in the country. The figure represents 7.3 percent of Korea’s GDP in 2016.

The number is based on the estimation that it costs a total of 108 million won a year to maintain each civil servant in the country. This includes various benefits like health insurance and pension.

Minus the benefits, the average civil servant makes 88.5 million won a year, according to the group, putting them in the top 7 percent of wage earners in the country.

And since government officials work 28 years on average, the taxpayers’ association argues that it will cost 3 billion won over a lifetime to maintain one civil servant through retirement.

The figure is higher than the 1.73 billion won estimate from the National Assembly Budget Office about the lifetime cost of one civil servant.

The budget office said that if the government hires 174,000 more civil servants as Moon has pledged, it will cost 327 trillion won to have them work for 30 years. In contrast, the Korea Taxpayers’ Association’s data shows it will cost more than 500 trillion won to do so.

The civic group calculated its figures based on the monthly salary of civil servants provided by the central government’s Ministry of Personnel Management and Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Jung District Office.

The central government’s data only included six out of 30 salary elements, including base pay and lunch stipends. Benefits like overtime allowance and bonuses were not included because they vary by employers’ rank and type of job, the government said, so the association estimated the extra costs by comparing it with the Jung District Office’s data and other past information.

The association criticized the Ministry of Personnel Management for not providing details of all the money paid to civil servants by type of job and rank, and said it would start a petition to make the data public.

“It makes no sense that they are not aware of the specific details of money paid to civil servants, when their employers are taxpayers,” said Kim Sun-taek, president of the association.

The group added that major countries like the United States, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom disclose details of their government employees’ salaries.


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






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