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Over half of Koreans predict negative economic effect from minimum wage hike

More than half of South Koreans think this year's minimum wage hike will have a negative effect on the economy, a survey showed Friday.

The poll of 1,002 adults nationwide by Gallup Korea found 52 percent of people predict negative economic effects from the latest minimum wage increase.


Only 24 percent said the wage hike will positively affect the Korean economy in 2019.

The state-set minimum wage rose 10.9 percent to 8,350 won ($7.51) per hour this year from 7,530 won last year. Adding to the burden of employers, the revised Enforcement Decree of the Minimum Wage Act calls for including legally mandated holiday hours, such as Sundays, in the calculation of the minimum wage beginning in 2019. Thus employers have to pay employees who work more than 15 hours per week additional wages for eight hours of work for Sundays.

Forty-two percent of the respondents, meanwhile, said this year's minimum wage increase was adequate, with 36 percent regarding it as high and 13 percent low. The "adequate" opinion was comparatively high among liberals and those in their 20s.

Twenty-seven percent said the wage hike is advantageous to them, with 31 percent claiming the opposite.

"The latest poll showed the public generally agrees with the minimum wage increase but worries about its pace and method," a Gallup Korea official said.

The poll conducted Tuesday to Thursday has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points and a confidence level of 95 percent. (Yonhap)