Central government and municipal organizations will introduce flexible part-time jobs from next year as part of efforts to achieve a 70 percent employment rate by 2017, the Ministry of Employment and Labor announced Sunday.
The ministry released an interim report on key plans and policy directions of its major employment task envisioned by President Park Geun-hye, which focuses on the “flexible part-time job system.”
In addition to an 8-hour flexible job system, the new measure allows two people to work five hours a day in rotation. Employees chosen through the system will receive equal treatment in terms of hourly wages and promotion, the ministry officials said.
The government’s goal for now is to create 9,000 flexible part-time jobs in the public sector by 2017, which will also apply to teachers in private and public schools, nutritionists and accountants. The workers will be required to work at least four hours a day, officials noted.
Employment and Labor Minister Phang Ha-nam said the measure will be a one-for-all measure especially for women and the baby boomer population.
“This could be a route for working moms to reenter the workforce,” Phang said at a press conference on Friday.
“The flexible part-time system could meet working moms’ demands and I hope the ministry could pave the way for that. We’re requiring both public and private organizations to focus on personnel management,” Phang explained.
The flexible hiring system has already been introduced at hospitals, banks and sizable firms such as CJ Group, the Investment Bank of Korea and Hyosung ITX. The ministry will look into signing an agreement with the country’s top 30 firms and offer benefits for social insurance fees, tax deductions and support labor costs.
The ministry added that it will legislate against discrimination against flexible part-time workers by the end of the year and establish a support center as well.
To gauge each government department’s progress on creating jobs, the Labor Ministry said it would release a guideline this month. The guideline will provide unified standards for drawing up precise numbers on employment data.
Meanwhile, the government plans to draft a bill to settle the prolonged average salary dispute between labor and management.
“We will be able to present a bill in November at the earliest to be passed within this year,” Phang said.
“How fast we deal with the situation is not the issue right now. Forming a sustainable wage system is what matters,” he added.
The “ordinary wage” is used to calculate overtime, nighttime and holiday pay, which affects the amount of money offered in severance packages. Labor groups claim that bonuses should be included in basic wages, based on a government guideline released in 1988.
Tension between labor unions and businesses began to flare up last year as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of management that bonuses paid to workers on a quarterly basis are considered ordinary pay.
Local businesses argue that firms will be hit with 15 to 20 percent hike in labor costs if bonuses are included in regular wages.
Companies are expected to pay out a combined, additional 38 trillion won ($34.4 billion) if bonuses are approved as part of the ordinary wage, according to the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
By Suk Gee-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org