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Small businesses plan layoffs with minimum wage hike: survey

More than 90 percent of small business owners say they plan to lay off workers following the government’s minimum wage hike next year, according to a survey by the Korea Federation of Micro Enterprise on Wednesday.

The survey polled 532 business owners from July 21 to 28 and found that 92.4 percent said they would most likely have to cut staff once the new minimum wage increase is implemented, while 68.1 percent said they definitely planned to lay off employees. 


In addition to future anticipated layoffs, 91 percent of merchants added they are expecting to work 12 or more hours a day to make up for the loss in staff. Roughly 34.6 percent said the wage increase would also result in shortened work hours for employees.

Last month the government announced its decision to increase the country’s minimum wage by 16 percent to 7,530 won ($6.70) per hour starting next year, marking its biggest hourly wage jump since 2000. President Moon Jae-in also went on to pledge that his administration intends to raise the minimum wage to at least 10,000 won by 2020.

The recent survey showed that 87 percent said their sales numbers had fallen since last year. The sluggish economy was listed as the main reason for fiscal struggles for 36.3 percent of business owners, while 23.7 percent said higher personnel costs was the main cause.

By Julie Jackson (