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Project to convert non-regular workers in public sector to regular status spreads across public entities

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Nov. 29, 2017


The project to convert non-regular workers in the public sector to regular status is being implemented in earnest across public entities after the announcement on October 25th of the results of the special fact-finding survey on public-sector non-regular employment and the year-by-year conversion plan.


The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) held joint meetings in eight regions over the course of two weeks from November 2nd to 17th to support the conversion of non-regular workers to regular status by each category of public entities and to listen to their difficulties.


According to MOEL, as of November 27th public entities were entering the final stage of setting up a conversion deliberation committee, and those which have decided the scope of non-regular workers to be converted, etc., were growing in number. 


For a start, of all 835 public entities which have to convert their non-regular workers to regular status, 743 or 89.0% have finished setting up a committee (i.e. conversion deliberation committee) to deliberate on the conversion of fixed-term workers to regular status.


* As for temporary agency/contract company workers who will be converted to regular status in phases by 2020, 190 public entities have finished setting up a council composed of labor and management representatives and experts to consult on the conversion of such non-regular workers to regular status. (A total of 141 public entities have to convert their temporary agency/contract company workers to regular status before the end of this year.)


And a total of 153 public entities have decided to give regular status to a combined total of 18,232 non-regular workers, of whom 15,652 are fixed-term workers employed in 143 public entities and 2,580 are temporary agency/contract company workers employed in 47 public entities.


A close look at progress made by each category of public entities shows that on the whole, the conversion project is going smoothly although conflicts are emerging in some local governments and public institutions.


Most (95.7%) of central administrative agencies have set up their conversion deliberation committees and are now speeding up their conversion decisions.


Local governments had been rather passive in converting their non-regular workers to regular status, but the number of local governments which have set up a conversion deliberation committee has sharply increased after MOEL provided on-site guidance and information sessions.


* Number of local governments which have set up a conversion-related decision-making body (of all 245 local governments): 91 (Oct. 19) → 123 (Oct. 26) → 197 (Nov. 23)


In general, conversion discussions in public institutions are going smoothly although in some of them, conflicts are arising in the conversion process. Local public enterprises, too, are actively pressing ahead with the conversion of non-regular workers to regular status without labor-management conflict.


* The proportions of public institutions and local public enterprises which have set up a conversion-related decision-making body stand at 91.1% and 95.1%, respectively.


In the case of educational institutions, the conversion has been somewhat delayed because of the diversity of jobs, but each city or provincial office of education will come up with its own conversion standards and finish the conversion before the end of this year. 


Meanwhile, during the regional joint meetings, many public entities asked MOEL to provide the exemplary cases they can refer to when making conversion decisions.


So MOEL has found five best practices mainly from public institutions and local governments and will help public entities apply those practices to their workplaces.


The five best practices came from two local governments (Gyeonggi Provincial Government and Gwangsan District Office in Gwangju), two public institutions (Korea Land and Housing Corporation and Chonbuk National University Hospital) and one local public enterprise (Mapo-gu Facilities Management Corporation). 

 
【 Best practices for converting public-sector non-regular workers to regular status (summary) 】

Category

Name of organization

Conversion details

Public institution

Korea Land & Housing Corporation (LH)

LH decided to convert 1,261 fixed-term workers, including 606 engaged in administering housing benefits, to regular status.

It conducted a fair screening process containing a personality/job competency test, a capability assessment and an interview.

Chonbuk National University Hospital

The hospital converted 51 fixed-term workers (including 9 part-time workers) to regular status after consulting closely with the trade union throughout the entire conversion process.

It is the first public hospital to decide to convert fixed-term workers to regular status.

Local government

Gyeonggi Provincial Government

The Gyeonggi Provincial Government converted 306 non-regular workers, including 86 cooks employed by fire stations, to regular status.

It secured procedural fairness by disclosing information transparently throughout the entire conversion process and providing an objection procedure.

Gwangsan District Office in Gwangju

The Gwangsan District Office converted 54 fixed-term workers to regular status.

It could minimize the burden of additional labor costs because it has applied the living wage to non-regular workers as well.

Local public enterprise

Mapo-gu Facilities Management Corporation

The corporation converted 36 fixed-term workers to regular status.

It could undertake the conversion without any additional cost because it applies the same pay scheme to both non-regular workers and workers on indefinite-term contracts.

 

An analysis of the best practices reveals two things. First, the more systematically an organization has managed its personnel and labor affairs without discrimination based on employment type, the more smoothly it was able to convert non-regular workers to regular status. Second, what they have in common is that they all administered the conversion process in a fair and transparent manner on the basis of trust and cooperation between labor and management. 

 
① To begin with, the Chonbuk National University Hospital and the Mapo-gu Facilities Management Corporation could undertake the conversion in cooperation with their regular workers because there is no difference between regular and non-regular workers in terms of hiring process and pay scheme.


The Chonbuk National University Hospital has applied the same hiring process used to hire regular workers when hiring fixed-term workers, so it was able to promptly convert its 51 fixed-term workers to regular status without having to create an additional hiring process and without any controversy over fair hiring.


The hospital is the first among the member public hospitals of the KCTU-affiliated Korean Health and Medical Workers Union to give regular status to non-regular workers. In that sense, its case is expected to be of great help to other public hospitals when they make conversion decisions.

 

A voice from the field

▪I would like to thank the management and trade union for having agreed to convert non-regular workers to regular status through their joint efforts despite the tough business situation. I hope they will continue to make active efforts to improve the working conditions of non-regular workers. (Lee OO, aged 52, head of the union chapter, Chonbuk National University Hospital) 

 

The Mapo-gu Facilities Management Corporation could decide to convert its 36 fixed-term workers to regular status without any additional cost because it has the same wage system for workers on contracts of indefinite duration and non-regular workers.

 

A voice from the field

▪Even though I have been a non-regular worker, I have been able to lead a smooth social life because the company guarantees non-regular workers wages, welfare and other working conditions little different from those enjoyed by regular workers. But I have been afraid that my contract may be terminated, so I am very happy to receive a conversion notice. Now I can perform my job with a greater sense of responsibility. (Lee OO, aged 28, office assistant, Mapo-gu Facilities Management Corporation)

 

 ② The Korea Land and Housing Corporation, the Gyeonggi Provincial Government and the Gwangsan District Office in Gwangju all focused on disclosing information transparently throughout the entire conversion process and administering the conversion process in a fair manner through labor-management consultation.


The Korea Labor and Housing Corporation set up a conversion deliberation committee including five external experts and decided to convert its 1,261 fixed-term workers to regular status after nine rounds of good-faith consultation between labor and management.


In particular, the corporation also focused on securing fairness by creating a fair screening process that includes a job competency test, a capability assessment and an interview and thus can examine the qualifications and job competencies of non-regular workers in the process of converting them to regular status.

 

A voice from the field

▪I succeeded in getting regular status after going through a three-step screening process consisting of a job competency and personality test, a performance assessment and an interview. I felt relieved that my concern about contract renewal was resolved and also satisfied that I got a job. Now I have a greater sense of belonging to the company and responsibility and will make efforts to contribute to the company.  (Lee OO, aged 27, office assistant, Korea Land and Housing Corporation)

 

The Gyeonggi Provincial Government gave regular status to its 306 fixed-term workers, of whom 220 were fixed-term workers it had originally planned to covert to regular status and 86 were cooks employed by fire stations.


In particular, the local government disclosed information on progress, etc., transparently throughout the entire conversion process from selecting candidates for conversion to deciding conversion-related matters and focused on securing fairness by undergoing an objection procedure.

 

A voice from the field

▪I was working at the Gyeonggi Provincial Government under the Employment Success Package Program aimed at helping career-break women find work again. Whenever the government announced a policy to convert non-regular workers to regular status, my department actively informed me of it and gave encouragement to me. I am thankful for this opportunity given to me. (Kim OO, aged 42, office assistant, Gyeonggi Provincial Government)

 

The Gwangsan District Office in Gwangju has converted its fixed-term workers to regular status in phases since 2011. Based on the trust it has built between labor and management through the process, the district office could promptly convert its 54 fixed-term workers to regular status.


It has applied the living wage to fixed-term workers, too. As a result, it could  reduce the burden of additional labor costs caused by the conversion.

 

A voice from the field

▪I have envied those who got regular status, so I was so thrilled when I became eligible for conversion to regular status. After I became a regular employee, my mindset has changed and I have begun to take pride in my workplace. Thanks to the warm encouragement and consideration shown by the staff at the Gwangsan District Office, I could feel a sense of belonging  and many changes. (Lee OO, aged 28, file clerk, Gwangsan District Office)

 

Meanwhile, the Gyeonggi Provincial Government and the Gwangsan District Office in Gwangju introduced a system of conducting a preliminary review before hiring non-regular workers (preliminary review system) this year to improve the practice of hiring non-regular workers. The system is expected to be actively used as a reference by other organizations.


<Examples of operating a preliminary review system>

 

①The Gyeonggi Provincial Government stipulates that any department which intends to employ a fixed-term worker should submit a related hiring plan to, and consult with, the department in charge of budgets and the department in charge of converting workers on indefinite-term contracts to regular status, before hiring. (introduced on Feb. 7, 2017)


②The Gwangsan District Office stipulates the pre-hiring review procedure (establishing an employee hiring plan → drawing up and submitting a hiring plan → holding a meeting of the hiring review board), the composition of the review board, etc. (introduced on Aug. 17, 2017)

 

MOEL expects that many public entities, including city and provincial offices of education, the five power generation companies and government agencies, will make conversion decisions this December.


The Ministry will provide close support to each category of public entities and major workplaces during the conversion process through regional consulting and on-site support teams and help them manage their workforces systematically after conversion by providing wage models and standard personnel management regulations.


Ryu Kyung-hee, the Director-General of the Public-Sector Labor Relations Policy Bureau, said, "Converting public-sector non-regular workers to regular status is not easy, of course, because it is a process not of simply changing their employment status but of rebuilding the overall personnel management system."


He emphasized, "This is a time when tripartite partners should create a sustainable conversion model by making the concessions they need to make rather than seeking short-term gains."

Last Modifide Date   :   Thu January 4, 2018
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