Jan. 10, 2019
The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) will hold a series of forums to discuss ways to improve the minimum wage fixing system, including revising the minimum wage-fixing machinery and refining the fixing criteria. It is set to start with a forum with experts on January 10th, followed by a forum involving workers and employers as well as experts on January 16th, and then a public forum on January 24th.
On January 7th, Employment and Labor Minister Lee Jae-kap announced a draft agenda for discussion to improve the minimum wage-fixing machinery for the first time in 31 years. The key items on the agenda aim at improving the rationality, objectivity and fairness of the minimum wage setting process are as follows:
- To add and refine the minimum wage determination criteria, taking account of relevant ILO standards, so that workers’ livelihood security and national employment and economic conditions can be considered in a more balanced manner
- To set an objective and rational range for minimum wage (i.e. the highest and lowest minimum wage rates), through statistical analysis and on-site monitoring based on fixing criteria
- To grant the right to nominate public interest members of the Minimum Wage Commission to the National Assembly or workers’ and employers’ organizations. Currently, only the government can nominate public interest members.
The forums are expected to provide opportunities to freely exchange opinions on the need to improve the minimum wage system and various alternatives, mainly based on the draft agenda proposed by MOEL. Kim Kyung-seon, the Director-General of Labor Standards Policy Bureau within MOEL, said, “It will be the first time in more than 30 years that the revision of the minimum wage-fixing machinery will be discussed, so we want to hear opinions of not just experts but also a broad range of stakeholders including workers’ and employers’ organizations and the public.” She added, “The scale and scope of participation will expand with each forum, and we also plan to gather opinions from the whole nation, including workers’ and employers’ organizations, through an online survey from January 21st until January 30th.”