New President Moon’s Election Pledge for the Labor Policy

On May 10, South Korea has elected a new president, Mr. Moon Jae-in, who comes from a liberal party.

The first pledge that caught most people’s attention was to increase the hourly minimum wage up to 10,000 Korean won gradually until 2020. The minimum wage for 2017 is 6,470 Won.

Here are other major points of his labor policy pledges that I translated from the leaflet he released during the campaign.

1. We will legislate a law guaranteeing that employees can leave their office on time. 

We will improve the quality of working life by reducing work hours and letting employees use their leaves freely.

– legislating a law allowing employees to leave offices on time after work* and restricting the adoption of a comprehensive wage system that preemptively includes overtime wage in the total wage

* Many Korean organizations, both in public and private sectors, are not totally free from the old business culture of employees waiting for their bosses to leave the office before they go home.

– limiting maximum legal work hours per week to 52 hours

– extending public holidays to all private enterprises

– allowing monthly leave to non-regular workers with less-than-one-year contracts

– legislating a law that prohibits managers from messaging  work-related directions to employees after work hours

2. Equal pay for work of equal value

We will eliminate discrimination against women and non-regular workers by setting standards for equal pay for work of equal value.

– legislating a special law to prohibit discrimination against non-regular workers

– making hiring of regular employees mandatory for permanent and continuous jobs

– making the central government, local governments and public corporations transform non-regular employees to regular workers

3. We will achieve work-life balance by reducing work hours

– reducing work hours of fathers and mothers by three hours per day for up to maximum two years without wage cuts so that they can take care of young children

– introducing maternity leave for both spouses and extending the period of childcare leave

– raising the level of childcare benefits and introducing bonus for fathers who take childcare leave

– strengthening affirmative actions for female workers to eliminate gender discrimination at work

4. We will establish sound industrial relations

– ratifying core conventions of the International Labor Organization

– strengthening employee representative system by extending the system to include non-regular workers, female workers and also representatives of workers from subcontracting companies

– introducing employee representation on board in the public sector and extending the system to the private sector

– establishing a Korean-style social dialog machinery

– drastically enhancing unionization rate and increasing the number of companies covered by collective bargaining agreements

I also found an English news article covering the same topic.