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Cabinet approves three amendment bills, including bill to amend Labor Standards Act

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Nov. 21, 2017


The government deliberated and decided on MOEL's three amendment bills, including a bill to partially amend the Act on Equal Employment and Support for Work-Family Reconciliation, which would strengthen employers' responsibility for sexual harassment at work, at a cabinet meeting on November 21st (Tue.). The main contents of the bills are as follows:


* Labor Standards Act, Act on Employment Promotion and Vocational Rehabilitation for Disabled Persons, Act on Equal Employment and Support for Work-Family Reconciliation

 

The bill to amend the Act on Equal Employment and Support for Work-Family Reconciliation

 

<1> Strengthening employers' obligation to take measures against sexual harassment at work (The relevant provisions will take effect six months after the date of promulgation.)


Workplace sexual harassment or violence, which occurred in some companies, is becoming a social issue, and there has been an upward trend in incidents of workplace sexual harassment.


* Reported cases of workplace sexual harassment: 519 in 2014→ 522 in 2015→556 in 2016→ 532 as of Oct. 2017


For this reason, the Act on Equal Employment and Support for Work-Family Reconciliation was amended to strengthen employers' responsibility for sexual harassment at work and measures to protect victims of workplace sexual harassment.


According to the amendment bill, in cases where sexual harassment occurs in the workplace, anyone will be allowed to report it to the employer.


And the employer will be obligated to conduct a fact-finding investigation and take protective measures for the victim, such as moving the victim to another place of work and granting him/her annual leave. (A person who violates this provision will be punished by a fine of not more than 5 million won.)


The bill also prohibits employers from dismissing or unfavorably treating any worker or victim who reports workplace sexual harassment and imposes a higher fine for violating this prohibition (20 million won → 30 million won).


Moreover, in cases where sexual harassment by a client, etc., occurs, the employer will be obligated to take protective measures for the victim, such as reassigning or transferring the victim to another place of work and ordering him/her to take paid leave. (A person who violates this provision will be punished by a fine of not more than 3 million won.)


Meanwhile, the bill enhances sexual harassment prevention education in order to create a workplace environment in which women can feel safe and secure at work.


For instance, employers will be required to conduct sexual harassment prevention education and put up a notice of its content every year. (A person who violates this provision will be punished by a fine of not more than 5 million won.)


<2> Introducing three-day annual leave for infertility treatment (The relevant provision will take effect six months after the date of promulgation.)


The number of infertile people has been on the rise, but they have had no choice but to take their annual leave to get infertility treatment.


* Number of infertile people: 202,000 in 2013 → 215,000 in 2014 → 214,000 in 2015 → 218,000 in 2016


The Act on Equal Employment and Support for Work-Family Reconciliation was amended to introduce three-day leave for infertility treatment (the first one day with pay and the other two days without pay).


Workers will be guaranteed time off from work for infertility treatment, and the problem of low fertility would be eased as a result.

 

The bill to amend the Labor Standards Act

 

<1> Strengthening the guarantee of annual leave for workers with less than one year of service (The relevant provision will take effect six months after the date of promulgation.)


Leave taken by workers with less than one year of service, who are granted one-day leave for each month of full attendance, has been deducted from their 15 days of annual leave for the following year.


So new employees have not enjoyed a sufficient guarantee of the right to rest because they can take only 15 days of leave in total during the first two years of employment. 


The bill to amend the Labor Standards Act includes a provision prohibiting deducting annual leave taken by workers with less than one year of service from their annual leave for the following year.


As a result, new employees will be guaranteed a total of 26 days of annual leave - a maximum of 11 days of leave during the first year and 15 days of leave during the second year -  during the first two years of employment.


<2> Strengthening the guarantee of annual leave for workers who return to work after childcare leave (The relevant provision will take effect six months after the date of promulgation.)


Childcare leave taken by workers has not been counted as time worked when calculating the number of days of annual leave they are entitled to if they achieve at least 80% attendance during the previous year.


There have even been cases where a worker who returned to work after childcare leave could not have even one day of annual leave.


According to the amendment bill, childcare leave will be counted as time worked when calculating the number of days of annual leave, thereby guaranteeing annual leave for workers who return to work after childcare leave.

 

The bill to amend the Act on Employment Promotion and Vocational Rehabilitation for Disabled Persons

 

<1> Making it mandatory for employers to provide education to improve  perceptions of people with disabilities (The relevant provisions will take effect six months after the date of promulgation.)


 ㅇ Of private firms mandatorily required to employ disabled people, less than half (46.6%) fulfilled the obligation in 2016.


Education aimed at improving perceptions of people with disabilities is urgently needed in order to eliminate bias against disabled people in the workplace and  create stable working conditions for disabled workers.


The bill to amend the Act on Employment Promotion and Vocational Rehabilitation for Disabled Persons obligates employers to provide education aimed at improving perceptions of people with disabilities (A person who violates this provision will be punished by a fine of not more than 3 million won) and is therefore expected to help improve working conditions for disabled workers. 


Meanwhile, the amendment bill requires the State, local governments and public institutions to preferentially treat employers selected by the Minister of Employment and Labor for their outstanding performance in employing disabled people when they make contracts for public works, goods or services.

Last Modifide Date   :   Tue December 26, 2017
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