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Unemployment benefits to be extended to artists, starting in December

Artists will be eligible for an unemployment allowance starting in December following the expansion of national employment insurance coverage.

The Labor Ministry said Friday that it is planning to revise relevant legislation in time for the change to take effect Dec. 10. The expanded coverage will include artists, musicians and other workers who have signed special contracts with their employers.

Once the change becomes effective, artists and their employers will be required to pay monthly premiums amounting to 0.8 percent of the artist’s salary, split equally.

Artists who earn less than 500,000 won per month under such contracts will remain excluded from coverage. Artists are allowed to sign more than one contract, and the ministry calculates their monthly pay by the total amount they earn from all contracts.

The ministry anticipates that around 70,000 of the country’s 170,000 artists will be newly eligible for coverage.

To be eligible for benefits upon losing their jobs, artists must first pay their monthly premiums for at least nine months. Beneficiaries are entitled to as much as 66,000 won per day.

As part of the Moon Jae-in administration’s drive to launch a national employment insurance program for all workers, the Labor Ministry has been working on legislative changes to extend the unemployment insurance safety net to workers outside standard labor contracts.

In a draft bill unveiled in July, the ministry envisioned the inclusion of workers in “special forms of employment” within the state-run job insurance scheme, while leaving details to be determined by presidential orders.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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