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  • MOEL pushes ahead with full revision of the Employment Security Act for first time in 23 years
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  • Dec. 21, 2017

     

    On December 21st (Thu.) the Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) preliminarily announced a bill to wholly amend the Employment Security Act with the aim of strengthening protection for job seekers, overhauling the role of public employment services and rationalizing private employment services.

     

    The Employment Security Act is a law regulating the role of public employment services, such as Job Centers, and private employment services, such as job placement agencies, and was established in 1961.

     

    The amendment is the first complete amendment made in 23 years since 1994.

     

    The amendment aims to overhaul the employment service system to keep up with the changing employment service market, such as an increasing number of private employment service agencies and the need for a stronger role for public employment services.

     

    The contents of the amendment bill include strengthening protection for jobs seekers who use private job placement or recruitment services, overhauling the role of public employment services and rationalizing private employment services.

     

    The main contents are as follows.

     

    1. Strengthening protection for job seekers

     

    The bill extends the scope of people who can be targeted for recruitment beyond 'workers' to 'those willing to be employed'.

     

    The current Employment Security Act and court rulings have confined the scope of application of the Act to 'workers' defined by the Labor Standards Act, so there has been a limitation* in protecting all job seekers from fake job ads, etc.

     

    * In the case of a door-to-door sales company which put up a false job ad with the intention of recruiting sales agents, the court ruled that the company did not violated the Employment Security Act because sales agents are not workers.

     

    Hence, the scope of people who can be targeted for recruitment was revised to include 'those willing to be employed', so that even job seekers who are not considered workers can be protected by the Act.

     

    In order to prevent employment scams on job sites, job information businesses - i.e. businesses providing information on job seekers and job openings using newspapers, the internet, etc. - will be required to be registered.

     

    The bill expands or tightens the grounds for disqualification, penal provisions, etc., applicable to job information service providers to be on a par with those for fee-charging job placement service providers.

     

    * Requirements for registering a job information business will be newly established at the time when the Enforcement Decree is amended.

     

    If a person entrusted with recruitment recruits job seekers, the job seekers will be able to request documents relating to the entrustment contract.

     

    Recently there have been cases of job seekers suffering damage related to entrustment of recruitment as some training institutions, etc., recruit trainees under the pretext that they are entrusted to recruit workers.

     

    Hence, the bill establishes a legal basis for allowing job seekers to request disclosure of documents verifying entrustment relationships and requiring those entrusted with recruitment to comply with such requests unless there is a justifiable reason not to.

     

    In particular, the provisions banning the receipt of money and valuables, etc., by recruiters were further clarified so that they cannot get money and valuables or other gains in connection with recruitment. For example, those entrusted with recruitment will be prohibited from asking job seekers to purchase their products, etc.

     

    2. Overhauling the role of public employment service agencies

     

    The Employment Security Act will be renamed as 'the Act on Employment Security and Services' so that it can become a framework act on employment services encompassing both public and private employment services.

     

    The bill clarifies the roles of employment service providers, including the state, local governments and private employment service agencies.

     

    * The state develops employment services and runs related information and communication networks, local governments provide employment services in cooperation with Job Centers, and private employment service agencies enhance their expertise, etc.

     

    It also establishes a legal basis for sharing information between the state and local government to provide effective employment services for vulnerable groups, such as basic livelihood security recipients.

     

    Moreover, the bill establishes provisions guaranteeing proper entrustment conditions and mandating monitoring of entrusted agencies to enhance the effectiveness of the project to entrust public employment services to the private sector.

     

    It also allows multi-year entrustment contracts to be made based on entrustment outcomes.

     

    3. Rationalizing private employment services

     

    A person who intends to register or has registered a fee-charging job placement business and a job counselor in charge of job placement will be obligated to complete required training to enhance the expertise and ethics of fee-charging job placement agencies.

     

    As well as replacing the current reporting system for job information businesses with a registration system, the bill introduces the obligation to complete required training before registration for those who intend to register a job information business.

     

    Kwon Hyuk-tae, the Director-General of MOEL's Employment Services Policy Bureau, explained, "The amendment bill focuses on improving the quality of public and private employment services and strengthening the protection of job seekers against employment fraud, etc."

     

    He said, "I hope that this amendment will enable people to receive employment services conveniently and safely."

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