-Proactive Measures to Support Employment Security in Response to COVID-19-
- Feb. 28. 2020(Fri)
□ The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) (Minister Lee Jae-kap) will take measures to minimize the employment effects of the spread of COVID-19, providing greater support for SMEs to cope with business slowdown and workers to keep their job.
ㅇ MOEL’s “Proactive Measures to Support Employment Security in Response to COVID-19” was released on February 28 (Fri.) as part of the “Comprehensive Measures to Minimize and Overcome the Effects of COVID-19 on People’s Livelihoods and the Economy at an Early Stage”, jointly introduced by relevant government offices.
ㅇ MOEL’s measures consist of the following key pillars:
① The amount of the employee retention subsidy will increase from the current 2/3 to 3/4 of business suspension or leave benefits to be covered by the employer.
The increased amount reflects feedback from people on-site asking for greater employment security support for workers amid the exponential growth of employee retention subsidy applications in the aftermath of the recent outbreak of COVID-19.
With the increase in the subsidy amount, employers who provide 1.4 million won in business suspension benefits for an employee earning 2 million won a month will spend 120,000 won less from 470,000 won to 350,000 won (for enterprises eligible for preferential support).
The greater subsidy amount will stay temporarily for six months (from Feb. 1, 2020 to Jul. 31, 2020), and whether to extend it will be decided after close monitoring of how the employment effects of COVID-19 develop in the future.
Employers who want to receive the subsidy have to take employment retention measures (paid suspension or paid leave) and apply for the subsidy every month. The increased amount will apply starting this March.
② As the extent of the spread of the virus and its employment effects differ from one region to another, each region requires different employment security measures tailored to its needs under the leadership of the responsible municipality.
This is why MOEL plans to start “Special Support Program for Regional Employment Response to COVID-19”, with the aim of supporting customized employment security measures for the needs of regional communities which have seen aggravating employment conditions.
MOEL will actively promote the new program to municipalities across the country and swiftly identify and support regional communities in need, ensuring that the program provides what the communities really need to overcome the tough employment situations they are facing.
③ MOEL will consider designating “special employment support sectors” from among those hit hardest by the outbreak, such as the travel industry and tourist accommodation services.
ㅇ Applications for the designation have been submitted, including from a tourism-related association.
To decide whether to designate each candidate as a special employment support sector, MOEL will conduct comprehensive analyses of each sector’s economic, industrial and employment conditions, including any change in the number of people enrolled in employment insurance, and have the results examined by the Employment Policy Deliberative Council to make the final decision.
Those designated as special employment support sectors will enjoy eased requirements and increased levels of support when they apply for the employee retention subsidy, outplacement and reemployment or business start-up support and other types of support for employment security as well as stable livelihood support for the unemployed.
④ For the existing employment crisis zones, the support periods are scheduled to expire by April or May this year. As all of the seven employment crisis zones have applied for an extended support period, MOEL will proactively examine whether to extend them.
⑤ As childcare centers, kindergartens and elementary schools are closed, MOEL will actively engage in efforts to promote family care leave (up to ten days a year) for workers in urgent need of childcare.
Furthermore, MOEL plans for a temporary subsidy of 50,000 won per worker taking family care leave (up to 500,000 won for a couple), providing practical support for those with urgent need to take care of children.
⑥ For low-income workers and dependent self-employed people, who are among the most affected by the pandemic, MOEL plans to provide much greater opportunities to take out the livelihood support loan and relax income requirements for the loan.
⑦ As businesses affected by COVID-19 are expected to have difficulty paying their employees on time, the government will take proactive action by drastically expanding the scope of employers eligible for substitute payment and free legal aid support.
□ “The government has come up with Proactive Measures to Support Employment Security to minimize the effects of COVID-19 on the economy and employment and help to overcome them at an early stage,” said Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jae-kap.
ㅇ “To ensure that these measures, set up with the urgency and severity of the economic and employment situations in mind, are adopted on-site starting March without delay, the government will proceed with amending relevant regulations, securing the budget and other necessary procedures as swift as possible.”