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Labor Ministry to increase support for unemployed, working poor

The Labor Ministry briefed President Moon Jae-in on its 2019 policy plans Tuesday, mainly focusing on increasing support for unemployed people and the working poor.

The briefing took place at the government complex in the administrative city of Sejong.

Among the goals for 2019 are strengthening of the employment safety net, eradicating workplace abuses and settling the minimum wage and shorter workweek.


By 2020, the ministry said it plans to provide 500,000 won ($442) in aid for up to six months for participants in the government’s employment support programs.

Some 200,000 to 500,000 recipients will be chosen from among 1.28 million working poor, who earn less than 60 percent of Korea’s median income, and young people who make between 60 percent and 120 percent of the median income.

By the second half of 2019, the ministry will also extend the period of unemployment benefits by an additional 30 days and increase the amount to 60 percent of average wages from 50 percent.

The ministry will offer a job matching system operated by artificial intelligence in 2019 to identify the most suitable jobs for the unemployed. It will also provide various training programs to unemployed people and support them in finding jobs by opening centers in April 2019. 


In addition, the ministry said it would eradicate workplace abuses by creating manuals and inspecting workplaces where violence occurs.

In a bid to root out workplace gender discrimination, it will support 2,100 workplaces to conduct sexual harassment prevention education programs in 2019. Stricter punishment for those who commit sexual harassment in the workplace and business owners who do not adequately respond to such abuses has been pledged.

In addition, the ministry will work on implementing a shorter workweek by conducting research of 1,000 companies and offering consultations. The ministry will also give financial assistance to small business owners burdened by the increased minimum wage.

Starting from July this year, the maximum workweek of companies with at least 300 employees has been reduced from 68 hours to 52 hours. Meanwhile, the minimum wage for 2019 has been set at 8,350 won per hour, up 10.9 percent from 2018.

By Park Ju-young (