Jun 5, 2017

Amendments in Korean Employment & Labor Law under Pres. Moon Administration: Labor Law Updates

President Moon, Korea, Labor Law Revision
President Moon
President Moon promised during his presidential campaign to make major changes to Korea's Labor & Employment Law.  The major changes,  in short,  promised are the following:

Create 810,000 New Jobs via expanding Korea's Public Sector
President Moon has vowed to create over 340,000 new government social service jobs and over 140,000 new government jobs in public safety and security while converting 300,000 non-regular workers to permanent workers.

Impose Limitations on the Utilization of Non-Regular Workers in Korea
President Moon has vowed to propose a bill that some have named the "Special Act on Preventing Discrimination Against Non-Regular Workers."  This Bill would, among other things, according to the President Moon Administration:
  • Impose limits on the use of part-time and fixed-term workers to only work that is seasonal or temporary;
  • Mandate that all workers are paid an equal sum for equal work;
  • Impose a fine on employers that employ too high of a percentage of Non-Regular Workers; and
  • Impose joint-employer liability on companies using in-house contractors.
Expand Childcare Leave & Benefits in Korea 
President Moon has promised to expand paternity leave from the present five days to 14 days (10 of the 14 days to be paid days).  Childcare leave benefits were vowed to be doubled for many parents.  

Reduce Working Hours in Korea
The maximum weekly working hours, in most cases, under present Korean law is 52 hours. However, the lack of adequate documenting of hours, among other things, has led to many workers working far in excess of 52-hours each week.  President Moon has pledged to require employers to adequately document hours worked, while promising to reduce the overtime exemptions.  

Additionally, for parents with children under the age of eight years old, working hours may be reduced to six hours for up to 24 months without any pay cut.  

Impose a 10,000 Won Minimum Wage by 2020
The present minimum wage is KRW 6,470.  

Expand Youth Employment Quota to Non-Government Entities
Presently, a youth employment quota, only, applies to government and government-controlled organizations. President Moon may expand the 3% to 5% quota to larger non-governmental entities. Non-compliance would, likely, lead to a fine.

Expand Labor Protection to Insurance Planners, Delivery Drivers & Private Teachers
President Moon has vowed to expand protection for workers that have been perceived to have been provided less protection under law.  These workers, include, insurance planners, delivery drivers and at-home private teachers.

Limit or Prohibit the Use of Contracted Workers for Dangerous Activities
Outsourcing of dangerous activities is a common activity in Korea that has, recently, gained attention. The practice may be banned or limited.  

We shall update the reader when more information is available. 
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Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.

Sean is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw.  Sean is known for his proactive New York-style street-market advice and his aggressive and non-conflicted advocacy.  Sean works with some of the leading retired judges, prosecutors and former government officials working in Korea.

Sean's profile may be found at: Sean C. Hayes
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