MOEL announces employment and labor policy plan for second half of 2013

The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) has announced its employment and labor policy plan for the second half of 2013, which contains the major tasks it will push ahead with in the second half of this year.
Minister Phang Ha-nam stressed, "Raising the employment rate is a precondition for people's happiness and a key to creating a virtuous circle of growth and welfare to achieve sustainable welfare."
He expressed his resolve by saying, "The second half of this year will be a crucial period when we consolidate the foundation for achieving a 70% employment target. So we will thoroughly implement the Roadmap to Achieve 70% Employment Rate (Jun. 6) during that period so that people can actually feel changes."

1. Reforming work arrangements and working hours
MOEL will come up with a concrete action plan to create decent part-time jobs, and push through legislation to protect and promote part-time employment in the second half.

<Main contents of the part-time work bill>
*Existing provisions 
(current Labor Standards Act, Act on Protection, etc., of Fixed-Term and Part-Time Employees)
-Define part-time worker
-Prohibit discrimination between part-time and full-time workers 
-Restrict overtime work
-Give employment priority to existing part-time employees when hiring new full-time employees

*Provisions added by new Part-Time Work Act
-Clarify the principle of giving part-timers protection in proportion to hours worked
-Restrict overtime work
-Grant workers the right to demand shorter working hours (pregnancy․child care, education/training, phased retirement, etc.)
-Designate and recommend jobs suitable for part-time employment

In order to improve the practice of working long hours and spread flexible work arrangements, MOEL will promote the use of annual leave, provide package support to companies that create jobs by reducing working hours, and launch a nationwide campaign.
By doing so, it will create a social atmosphere where businesses, workers and all other people can cooperate to reduce working hours. 

2. Providing employment services tailored to target groups, such as women, youth and economically inactive people
MOEL will help economically inactive people become self-reliant in society through work.
To that end, it will reinforce work-focused employment services, for example by expanding the Employment Success Package (ESP), providing welfare-to-work services and innovating employment services. 

MOEL will increase the number of ESP beneficiaries by 10,000 (220,000→ 230,000), and improve the quality of ESP services by hiring 400 more ESP counselors (Jul. 1). Training allowances will be increased for ESP participants who receive training in national key and strategic occupations (Jul. 1, 316,000→ 416,000 won).

In-depth services will be provided to prevent women from taking a career break.
As well as promoting childcare leave and expanding in-company childcare centers, MOEL will introduce services* to provide convenience to working mothers (trial operation in 2014). 

① Counseling service for working moms: Working moms will be offered counseling about maternity protection relating to pregnancy and childbirth, assisted in settling disputes with their employers, and provided with counseling linked to social services in each local area.
② Meal service for working moms' children: Working moms will be offered on-demand childcare services when they need to do unexpected overtime work.
③ After-school classes for working moms' children: After-school care will be provided for working moms' children in cooperation with local governments.

Beyond-Spec Mentor Schools will be opened up to help passionate and competent young people to find the jobs they want as soon as possible (8 such schools in the second half of 2013).

Selection of young talents with passion and potential (about 240 young people, Jun.~Jul.)→ online and offline mentoring (3~5 months, Jul.~)→ registration into young talent DB→ job matching

Various measures, such as developing national competency standards earlier and introducing a Korean-style dual system of work and learning*, will be taken to enhance young people's ability to adapt to workplaces. 

MOEL will draw up a proposal to enact the Act on Support for Work and Learning at Industrial Sites. The Act will stipulate administrative and financial support, the creation of a participant protection system, the roles of relevant government agencies, the establishment of the responsible body and the introduction of the Korean-style work-learning dual system under which educational attainment is recognized.

MOEL will also make efforts to expand the overseas employment of young people, for example by providing grants to young people who have succeeded in finding employment abroad and pushing ahead with K-move School.
Besides, the wage and job systems will be reformed to ensure a soft landing of the minimum retirement age of 60.
MOEL will help mature-age people stay in employment longer and be successfully re-employed after retirement. For example, as part of the Job Dream Project for Mature-Age People, an employment academy for middle-aged and old people will be established to provide employment training tailored to the needs of middle-aged and old people.

Businesses (companies), colleges (lifelong learning institutions) and consulting agencies will form a consortium and operate an employment academy for middle-aged and old people on a trial basis. It will be started in August 2013 as a pilot project for 500 middle-aged and old people and then gradually expanded in 2014. 

3. Improving working conditions and enhancing prevention of industrial accidents
Stronger protection will be given to non-regular workers, in-house subcontracted workers and people in special types of employment.
The public sector will continue to convert its non-regular workers to regular status. And private firms' voluntary efforts to switch their non-regular workers to regular employment will be boosted by the system of disclosing their number of employees by employment status.
MOEL will devise and implement measures to strengthen the employment safety net for people in special types of employment.

(Employment insurance) An analysis will be conducted especially on industries where workers work exclusively for, and are highly dependent on, their employers to find the current state, and then an EI application plan will be come up with on the basis of social consensus. 

(Industrial accident compensation insurance) To increase the proportion of people enrolled in IACI, opting out of IACI coverage will be allowed only when there is a particular reason, such as temporary shutdown. Measures to extend IACI coverage will be devised. 

Currently six occupations, that is, insurance agents, ready-mix concrete truck drivers, learning aid tutors, golf caddies, delivery truck drivers and quick delivery service workers, enjoy IACI coverage.
The Serious Chemical Accident Prevention Measures (May 21) will be implemented according to plan to prevent serious industrial accidents, such as fires, explosions and leaks, caused by chemicals.
Meanwhile, the protection of workers' health will be strengthened, for example by tightening the control of high-risk substances very harmful to the human body and expanding the scope of occupational diseases.

(35 harmful factors causing occupational diseases) 14 harmful factors causing occupational cancer, 14 substances causing respiratory diseases, and 8 substances causing acute poisoning will be added (including overlapping substances).

(New diseases) Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, hypothermia

Hours worked will be taken into account when a judgment is made on whether a worker has been chronically overworked, which often leads to cardiovascular diseases.

If the number of hours worked exceeds an average of 60 hours a week over a 12-week period (an average of 64 hours a week over a 4-week period), work is considered strongly related to the occurrence of the disease.

4. Resolving the mismatch between labor supply and demand for SMEs
A more systematic approach will be taken to address the mismatch between labor supply and demand. For instance, a joint human resources management system will be set up for SMEs and the SME information system will be revamped.
MOEL will sort out small giants by utilizing and combining SME data* held by different government agencies, and create an integrated database on them.

"Small giants" page on Worknet (MOEL), Hope Link Project (MOTIE), SME information system (SMBA), etc.
In particular, MOEL will run a program to give young people opportunities to visit small giants, and enhance the use of the database on small giants, for example by providing information on attractive SMEs to job sites preferred by young people.

5. Establishing and implementing job-centered policies
The present government is the first in history to place employment at the top of the national agenda. Therefore, it will consider job-creation effects first and foremost when pursuing its policies.
Hence, MOEL will strengthen employment impact assessment by introducing a preliminary employment impact assessment system.
A task force and a team for 70% employment will be set up, thereby putting in place a system of on-going monitoring, evaluation and feedback to ensure the implementation of the Roadmap. And its implementation status will be made public via an online situation board, etc. 

6. Labor-management cooperation for job creation
According to the Tripartite Jobs Pact (May 30), follow-up discussions will be pursued on such issues as a soft landing of the minimum retirement age of 60, reduction of working hours and wage reforms.
MOEL will promote social dialogue through the Economic and Social Development Commission, and make efforts to spread and put into practice the Jobs Pact across workplaces and local areas.
In order to address the issue of ordinary wages in a forward-looking manner in the context of the overall wage reform, MOEL will seek rational alternatives by conducting a fact-finding survey and operating the Wage Reform Committee.

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