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S. Korea to expand coverage of employment insurance to self-employed people

Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom (Yonhap)
Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom (Yonhap)

SEJONG -- South Korea plans to expand the coverage of its employment insurance program to self-employed people, as part of efforts to boost social safety nets in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a senior official said Wednesday.

Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom, in an interview with Yonhap News TV, said the labor ministry has started initial work to expand the insurance's coverage to self-employed people.

Kim made the remarks a day after the government announced details of expanding the insurance's coverage to freelance and other part-time workers, who have been hit hard by the pandemic.

To strengthen social safety nets, the government will invest 28.4 trillion won ($23.7 billion) by 2025.

Under the plan, the number of employment insurance subscribers will be raised to 21 million by 2025 from 13.67 million last year.

South Korea introduced the employment insurance program in 1995 as the main employment support system for regular workers in workplaces of certain sizes. Both employers and employees are obliged to pay monthly premiums.

All employers who hire at least one worker were required to enroll in the employment insurance starting in 1998. (Yonhap)