Legislation that helps young people bloom

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Legislation that helps young people bloom

 Lee Kang-seop
The author is the Government Legislation minister.


“Cheongchun” is a Korean word for the season of spring when green sprouts appear, and also refers to a young age or the time of life when one is young. It’s because hopeful words such as possibility, courage, passion, and enthusiasm are well matched with youth, like spring when new buds sprout. However, can it be said that young people who are suffering from the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic these days are living a life with hope? The younger generation is now experiencing uncertainty, anxiety and frustration coming from unemployment and housing insecurity. It hurts to see the difficulties they are facing.

The Moon administration has carried out support policies to help young people settle into society without difficulties, such as enacting the Framework Act on Youth, preparing special measures to handle 87 tasks related to youth, and providing a job seeker allowance and an employment support service. The Ministry of Government Legislation that oversees the legislative activities of the government is not only examining legislative bills for supporting the young in a timely manner with high perfection, but is also striving to revise the youth-related statutes different government agencies are taking charge of on a collective basis. The results thereof are the amendments to 14 laws, including the Vocational Education and Training Promotion Act that is announced to the public prior to the enactment until Nov. 24. The amendments aim to bolster youth support by increasing vocational training opportunities for the young, explicitly adding the term“youth”to the amendment to the Local Autonomy Act to make young people eligible for various government’s supports in each field such as economic activities and welfare, and lowering the age limit that makes them disqualified. Our Ministry plans to submit the draft amendments to the 14 laws to the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea within this year.

Our ministry is endeavoring to collect the opinions of young people to fulfill the purpose of the Framework Act on Youth that prescribes the responsibility to guarantee youth participation and collection of the opinions of young people when the State and local governments formulate youth policies. For instance, we have operated the Civil Legislative Official System aiming to promote the public participation since 2011 to reflect the on-site voices in conducting legislative activities such as statutory examination and modification. In particular, young people amount to 40 percent of the civil legislative officials this year so that we can collect more opinions from them. A seminar with the civil legislative officials on modification of youth-related statutes was held last May. As a result, the Framework Act on Small and Medium Enterprises was revised to make youth eligible for the government’s supports for business activities of small and medium enterprises. In the case of the public official appointment examination, where an applicant withdraws his or her intention of taking the examination by the deadline of receiving application forms, an application fee shall be returned according to the Enforcement Decree on Public Officials Appointment Examinations, whereas other statutes stipulate the implementation date of examination as the standard on return of application fees. After hearing the opinions of young people that the standard referred to in the aforementioned Act is disadvantageous compared to that of other statutes, we determined to extend the return period in consultation with the competent government agency of the Act.

In spring, green sprouts surely appear. There are no buds that sprout easily. Even though there is plenty of sunlight and water, a constant effort is needed to break through the soil. If there is not enough sunlight and water, or if there is only strong rain and wind, no matter how good the sprouts are, no sprouts will appear. Now young people are struggling with harsh rain and wind. Our ministry will thoroughly examine and modify the statutes that are unfair and unreasonable on them so that laws and systems would become sunlight and water rather than rain and wind. I hope the modified statutes would help young people bloom.
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