Oct. 25, 2017
A total of 205,000 non-regular workers in the public sector will be converted to regular status by 2020, and 74,000 of them will be converted before the end of this year.
The Ministry of Employment and Labor finalized and announced the results of a special fact-finding survey on public-sector non-regular employment and a year-by-year conversion plan at a meeting of the 'task force on measures for public-sector non-regular workers' at the government complex in Sejong on October 25th (Wed.), which was presided over by Vice Minister of Employment and Labor Yi Sung-ki and joined by officials of relevant government agencies, representatives of the two umbrella unions and experts.
With the announcement of the year-by-year conversion plan, - which came after the 'guidelines for conversion of non-regular workers in the public sector to regular status' unveiled on July 20th - the government is expected to push ahead with its policy of converting non-regular workers in the public sector to regular status in a full-blown manner.
After the unveiling of the guidelines, MOEL had conducted a special fact-finding survey of all 853 public institutions to find out the current number of non-regular workers and how many and when non-regular workers would be converted to regular status. The Ministry came up with the year-by-year conversion plan based on the findings of the survey and after wide consultation with stakeholders.
The conversion policy aims to establish the practice of hiring regular workers for jobs of a permanent and continuous nature in the public sector and normalize the personnel management system in order to solve the problem of non-regular employment which has reached its critical threshold. By doing so, it is expected to be the first concrete step toward reducing social polarization, improving the quality of public services and realizing a society where labor is respected, which is one of the Moon Jae-in government's top priorities.
All public-sector non-regular workers who are engaged in work of a permanent and continuous nature and can be converted to regular status will be given regular status.
The conversion project pursued this time would not give regular status to all non-regular workers in the public sector.
In the case of temporary and intermittent jobs, such as jobs vacated by employees taking childcare leave and seasonal jobs, employing non-regular workers is rather inevitable given the distinctive nature of such jobs.
Hence, of 316,000 non-regular workers performing work of a permanent and continuous nature, 141,000, including teachers and lecturers, those aged 60 and over, highly-skilled professionals, such as doctors, and athletes, who are specified as an exception in the guidelines released on July 20th and for whom there are reasonable grounds on which it is difficult to convert them to regular status, are excluded from conversion, and about 205,000 (64.9%) will be converted to regular status.
The number 205,000 was produced by adding the number of cleaners, security guards and other non-regular workers (about 30,000 workers) who are excluded because they are 60 or older, but might be granted regular status* to the estimated number of non-regular workers to be converted, which was calculated at 175,000 (72,000 fixed-term workers and 103,000 temporary agency/contract company workers) according to the results of the special fact-finding survey.
* The supplementary guidelines (Sep. 22) recommend that since many of cleaners and security guards are 60 years old or older, public institutions, etc., should set the retirement age for such workers at 65 and convert them to regular status.
Of the estimated 175,000 non-regular workers to be converted, 74,000 (51,000 fixed-term workers and 23,000 temporary agency/contract company workers) will be converted in 2017. The remaining fixed-term workers will be converted by early 2018 and the remaining temporary agency/contract company workers will be converted in phases by early 2020, taking account of when their contracts expire.
By type of employment, of all non-regular workers to be converted, 72,000 (47.7%) are fixed-term workers and 103,000 (62.5%) temporary agency/contract company workers.
By organizational category, public institutions which plan to give regular status to 96,030 non-regular workers account for about half (55%) of the total number and have the highest conversion ratio (71.2%), followed by central administrative agencies with 69.7%, local governments and local public enterprises with about 50% and educational institutions which have a conversion ratio of 29% as teachers and lecturers are excluded from conversion.
By occupation, of all fixed-term workers to be converted, office assistants (14,000) make up the largest number, followed by researchers and research assistants (9,000) and medical care workers (7,000).
And of all temporary agency/contract company workers to be converted, facility cleaners (32,000) make up the largest number, followed by facility management service workers (21,000) and security guards (17,000).
Non-regular employment data by organization, compiled from the special fact-finding survey, can be found on the 'public-sector non-regular employment improvement system' website (http://public.moel.go.kr).
Conversion will be implemented in a way that minimizes the burden on the general public and ensures sustainability.
The government will concentrate its administrative capacity on smoothly implementing the first round of conversion and making related institutional improvements by the end of this year and do its utmost to prepare and implement the second and third rounds according to the plan.
<Conversion plan for each round>
Central government agencies, local governments, public institutions, local public enterprises and national & public educational institutions
The government unveiled the guidelines on Jul. 20, 2017, completed a fact-finding survey and is now implementing the first round.
Local government-contributed or invested institutions and subsidiaries of
public institutions and local enterprises
The government will conduct a fact-finding survey in Dec. 2017 and implement the second round in 2018 after establishing conversion criteria.
Private agencies entrusted with public service obligations
The government commissioned research in the 2nd half of 2017, which is now under way and will conduct a fact-finding survey in the 1st half of 2018 and implement the third round after establishing conversion criteria.
The government is pushing ahead with conversion according to the following five principles: ① Convert non-regular workers engaged in work of a permanent and continuous nature to regular status; ② Pursue autonomous conversion based on labor-management consultation; ③ Implement conversion in three steps, that is, first providing employment security, then eliminating discrimination and finally improving the quality of jobs; ④ Minimize the burden on the general public and pursue cooperation with regular workers; and ⑤ Ensure sustainability by creating a national consensus.
In particular, in order to minimize the burden on the general public which might arise in the process of converting non-regular workers to regular status, the government will help public institutions, etc., avoid adopting a one-size-fits-all seniority-based pay scheme and introduce a sustainable and rational wage system* that reflects the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.
* In early November the government will provide standard wage systems for major non-regular workers to be converted, such as cleaners and facility management service workers, to support reform of their wage systems.
In the case of temporary agency/contract company workers, the additional financial burden caused by their conversion to direct employment seems unlikely to be large as the resulting budget savings (10~15% of profits, general administrative expenses, etc.) could be spent on improving their working conditions.
The second and third conversion rounds will be prepared and implemented as planned.
The government will conduct a fact-finding survey of local government-invested or contributed institutions and subsidiaries of public institutions and local public enterprises, which are targeted in the second round of conversion, by the end of this year. It will establish conversion criteria for them based on the results and implement conversion according to the criteria.
As for private agencies targeted in the third round of conversion, the government will complete commissioned research before the end of this year and conduct a fact-finding survey in early 2018. It will establish conversion criteria for them based on the results and implement conversion according to the criteria.
The government will also share the relevant guidelines and best practices with constitutional institutions, such as the National Assembly, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court and the National Election Commission, which are not included in the conversion project, to help them convert their non-regular workers to regular status. Support will be provided to minimize conflicts that might occur in the conversion process.
The government is offering workplace-level conflict management services to resolve various conflicts that might occur at the workplace level in the process of converting non-regular workers to regular status.
For instance, MOEL created a task force to support conversion of non-regular workers in the public sector to regular status, and a 500-strong consulting team* was set up to provide consulting services to major workplaces at the central and regional levels.
* The consulting team is composed of more than 500 related experts, including professors, lawyers, the National Labor Relations Commission's mediation members and people recommended by trade unions.
The government will continue to manage conflicts in the policy implementation process through involvement of trade unions and in cooperation with stakeholders.
And if there is a possibility of large conflicts arising, it will come up with unified standards, such as second guidelines, to prevent conflicts in advance.
Institutional improvements will be actively pursued to support conversion of non-regular workers to regular status.
To begin with, 'effort to convert non-regular workers to regular status' will be included as one of the criteria for evaluating central administrative agencies and the criteria for evaluating public institutions' management performance and assigned a much higher weighting in the evaluation of local public enterprises' management performance and the evaluation of local governments.
▴ (Central administrative agencies) 'Conversion effort' is worth 1.4 points.
▴ (Public institutions) 'Conversion effort' will be assessed as a sub-category of the category, 'efforts to create decent jobs and improve the quality of jobs', which is worth 10 points.
▴ (Local public enterprises) 'Conversion effort' is worth about 5 points (It was worth 0.7 points in 2016).
In particular, evaluations for this year will focus on how soon a conversion-related decision-making body was set up and how aggressive the conversion plan is.
*Evaluations for 2017 will look at conversion plans and their aggressiveness → Evaluations for 2018 and beyond will look at related performance.
Moreover, the public sector's performance in terms of conversion of non-regular workers to regular status will be included on the government's employment situation board for continuous monitoring.
Meanwhile, the government will revise its contract regulations (MOSF, late Dec.) to ensure that if a public entity converts its non-regular workers to regular status by establishing a subsidiary, the subsidiary can be operated in a stable manner, and will provide explanatory materials to enable such subsidiaries to function as professional service providers.
* In relation to this, commissioned research is currently under way. By the end of this year, the government will provide reference materials developed based on the findings of the research.
In November the government will also create and provide standard personnel management regulations to support systematic workforce management after conversion.
*The regulations will cover the establishment of a pay increase system, training and education, the introduction of a new job group, the issuance of ID cards, etc.
Vice Minister of Employment and Labor Yi Sung-ki said, "Everyone knows that in the midst of swirling economic circumstances, such as economic globalization and the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution, it is impossible to hire all workers as regular employees."
He emphasized, "However, relying too much on non-regular workers even for jobs for which regular workers can be hired is a misguided employment practice and must be corrected."
He also said, "Although the conversion process may leave something to be desired, I earnestly ask workers and employers to join forces to reduce social polarization and realize a society where labor is respected, which are the tasks of our time."