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Government to help create 16,500 part-time jobs in public sector

The government plans to encourage the creation of about 16,500 part-time jobs in the public sector by 2017 as part of efforts to attain its goal of a 70 percent employment rate, Employment and Labor Minister Phang Ha-nam said at an economic ministerial meeting Wednesday.

To further stimulate the job market, the government will encourage the private sector to increase job opportunities through flexible employment by offering tax incentives, wage subsidies of up to 800,000 won ($745) and full social insurance fees for two years.

“Though the scale of the flexible hiring system is relatively small, it’s meaningful in that it’s a new approach and a new road to job creation,” Phang said.

The new hiring plan will focus on stay-at-home moms, who are expected to account for about 70 percent of the 2.38 million jobs to be created under the administration’s employment road map, officials said.

From next year, 3 percent of the newly hired government officials will be flexible part-time workers. That proportion is to rise to 4 percent in 2015, 5 percent in 2016 and 6 percent in 2017.

Local government officials will hire 3 percent of their new employees under the system, 5 percent in 2015, 7 percent in 2016 and 9 percent in 2017, according to the officials.

However, officials who are hired through the system will not be allowed to become full-time workers.

Sizable companies have already begun taking part in the system, including CJ Group, which plans to hire 5,000 stay-at-home moms seeking to reenter the workforce.

Samsung Group, the country’s biggest conglomerate, said it will hire 6,000 people as four-hour or six-hour part-time employees as early as next January.

Shinsegae Group already hired 1,068 people as of October, and will hire 1,000 more by the end of the year, officials said.

The system differs from conventional part-time jobs as they come with social insurance benefits such as state pension and employment insurance.

The government will also hold campaigns to remove discriminatory employment practices that could hinder the employment rate increase, they explained.

“The only difference from full-time positions is working hours. Flexible part-time employees will receive equal welfare benefits and promotion opportunities,” a government official explained in a briefing Wednesday.

The flexible hiring system is Park’s key employment policy to increase the employment rate from the current 64.2 percent.

The government’s effort, however, has been met with increasing resistance with critics saying that it will only create more low-quality contract positions.

Against this backdrop, more and more trade unions and irregular workers are going on strike to call for fair labor practices for contract workers, such as better working conditions and higher wages.

On Saturday, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions held a massive rally in Yeouido, calling to ban the contract employment system and improve labor practices.

The same day, thousands of temporary and contract school workers staged a rally in front of Seoul Station.

By Suk Gee-hyun (