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S. Korea: Plan Aims to Increase Employment Rate to 70%
Source: http://www.koreaherald.com/
Source Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Country: Korea (Republic of)
Created: Oct 18, 2010

In order to create more jobs, various forms of flextime work will be introduced at more workplaces, supporting working mothers and elderly citizens.

The government also plans to seek greater partnership with the private sector and local provinces to offer more quality jobs for young people.

“Even though several economic indicators are getting better, many people, youngsters in particular, cannot feel the recovery. The new plan started from the concerns that job creation could become a structural problem,” said the Employment and Labor Ministry after the Cabinet meeting with President Lee Myung-bak.

Major national projects would be required to receive an employment assessment for their job creation efforts. The top 100 job-creating companies will be selected for incentives.

Unfair employment practices at some smaller companies, such as unpaid overtime work and an unstable employment status, will also be reviewed to attract young employees. New guidelines securing the rights of contract workers will be released early next year too.

The government is also considering revising the labor law next year to reduce the nation’s notoriously long working hours. As of 2008, Koreans work 2,256 hours a year, the longest among OECD member states. The OECD average in the year was 1,764 hours.

From next year, a 40-hour work week will be introduced in every workplace. For overtime or night work, workers can claim holidays instead of an allowance.

As part of the revision next year, workers will also be allowed to demand flextime work for child care or disease. Female workers can also split whole days of maternity leave when they need.

The government’s new plan also includes measures to support citizens aged 55 or older who make up a growing portion of the nation’s economically-active population.

Among others, the “wage peak” system will be implemented next year. Under the new system, the government supports 50 percent of the wages when workers aged 50 or older decide to take flextime work for half their maximum working hours.

“The new plan is meaningful as the nation’s first national strategy for employment. The ministry will continue to monitor and improve the details,” said Employment and Labor Minister Bahk Jae-wan.

“In order to handle pending issues such as youth joblessness, government offices will work together with employers’ groups. And for sensitive labor-management issues, we will step up efforts to reach an agreement among stake-holding groups,” he said.
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