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Government will simplify procedures for subsidy for flexible work arrangements to fight against COVID-19

Government will simplify procedures for subsidy for flexible work arrangements to fight against COVID-19
 - SME employers will be paid up to 5.2 million won(US$4,234) a year per employee-

                                                                                                                                                - Feb. 26. 2020(Wed)
□ The Ministry of Employment and Labor announced that it would temporarily simplify procedures for employers to apply for a subsidy for introducing flexible work arrangements from February 25, to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
  ㅇ The “flexible work arrangement subsidy” is designed to provide assistance to cover labor costs for SME employers who introduce commuting with time difference, work from home, remote work or selective work hours. The subsidy amount depends on the number of those flexible work arrangements employees take.
  ㅇ More specifically, employers will be paid 50,000 won per employee taking flexible work arrangements once or twice a week and 100,000 won per employee taking them three times a week or more up to a year per employee in aggregate.
□ Here is how the simplified procedures work:
 ㅇ First of all, the monthly review committee of employers’ applications has been removed and replaced by an approval of the head of the competent regional employment and labor office. This will allow immediate provision of subsidies to employers at all times.
 ㅇ Secondly, eligibility conditions have been relaxed to include workers with employment less than a month, and those who have already been taking flexible work arrangements in the recent three months before application.
 ㅇ Finally, employers may now also use mobile messengers, such as email and KakaoTalk, to log their employees’ start and finish times, one of the requirements for the subsidy. This could be done only with groupware or mobile applications.
□ To benefit from the “flexible work arrangement subsidy”, employers need to complete an application form and submit it on the employment insurance website (www.ei.go.kr) or to the employer support division at the nearest job center.
 ㅇ When the application is approved, subsidy payment will apply retroactively to the submission date.
□ With the number of confirmed cases continuously rising, large numbers of people using public transportation during commute hours and sharing cafeterias at lunch hours pose a risk of spread of infections.
 ㅇ In preventing further spread of the virus, the Ministry of Employment and Labor plans to simplify its subsidy programs and secure an additional budget to ensure that SME employees have easy access to flexible work.
 ㅇ Furthermore, on February 25, the Ministry provided regional employment and labor offices with guidelines to give guidance to employers on flexible work arrangements, including work hours with time difference, remote work and work from home as well as staggered lunch breaks and rest periods (See Attachment 2).


Attachment 1: Flexible work arrangement subsidy program
□ (Purpose) The program is designed to encourage more businesses to adopt flexible work arrangements, with the aim of promoting work-life balance and moving away from the rigid work culture with long work hours.
                         < Types of flexible work covered by the program>

 

 work hours with time difference

 This allows workers to adjust the time to arrive and leave work within the prescribed hours of work.

 Selective work hours

 Selective work hours allows workers to adjust their work hours for a week or day, provided that their prescribed weekly work hours averaged over the reference period of not more than a month do not exceed 40 hours.

 Work from home

 Work from home allows workers to work at home, using IT devices.

 Remote work

 Remote work allows workers to work at the nearest remote office center to their residence or where they go for a business trip or any place other than their office, using mobile devices.

 

 □ (Eligibility conditions) Those eligible include mid-sized business owners, or employers eligible for preferential support, who have adopted flexible work arrangements which serve employees’ needs.
□(Requirements) Employers are required to establish a policy (e.g. employment rules and personnel management regulations) to help employees better use flexible work and use digital tools to keep track of their start and finish of daily work.
    * In the context of COVID-19, for people “working from home”, email and mobile messengers are permitted temporarily as a means of reporting their start and finish times to their employer.
□ (Subsidy amount) Up to 5.2 million won is paid to employers for a year per worker, with the amount varying based on the number of times each worker uses the given flexible work arrangement.
    * For each enterprise, the subsidy will cover up to 70 users (50 users of work hours with time differences), with the maximum number kept at 30 percent of the insured as of the last date of the previous year.
                                                   <Criteria for the subsidy amount>

 

 Criteria

 Total annual amount

 Weekly amount payable

 At least three times a week

 Once or twice a week

 At least three times a week

 Once or twice a week

 Amount

 5.2 million won

 2.6 million won

 100,000 won

 50,000 won

 

Attachment 2: How to give guidance to employers adopting flexible work arrangements in preventing the spread of COVID-19 (Feb. 25, 2020)
 

◇ Large numbers of people using public transportation during commute hours and sharing cafeterias at lunch breaks pose a risk of further spread of the virus.
◇ To prevent the spread of infections, the government will give guidance to employers on how to adopt flexible work arrangements, including staggered work hours, as well as staggered lunch breaks and give information on the flexible work subsidy program.


□ Strongly recommend adopting work hours with time difference, remote work or work from home.
 ○ Provision of guidance is necessary for employers on how to adopt staggered hours, remote work and work from home, according to their circumstances, to help employees avoid using public transportation during peak times.

 

 Work hours with time difference

 This allows workers to adjust the time to arrive and leave work within the prescribed hours of work.

 Work from home

 Work from home allows workers to work at home, using IT devices.

 Remote work

 Remote work allows workers to work at the nearest remote office center to their residence or where they go for a business trip or any place other than their office, using mobile devices.

 

 ○ Information has to be made available on flexible work arrangement subsidy* and how to apply.
    * (Eligibility conditions) Those eligible include middle-sized business owners, or employers eligible for preferential government support, who have adopted a flexible work arrangement, such as staggered work hours, work from home and remote work, which serves their employees’ needs well.
      (Subsidy amount) The total annual amount payable is 2.6 million won for each person using the given flexible work arrangement once or twice a week and 5.2 million won for each person using it at least three times a week.
□ Recommend staggering lunch breaks and rest periods.
 ○ Guidance to be given on how to adopt lunch breaks and rest periods with time difference to help prevent large numbers of people sharing cafeterias, lounges, etc. at the same time.
    * (e.g.) Members of some divisions could have lunch from 11:30 to 12:30, and members of other divisions from 12:30 to 13:30, for example. In this case, the cafeteria should be open accordingly.

Last Modifide Date   :   Thu March 26, 2020
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