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Labor and employment Ministers of G20 to put their heads together to respond to COVID-19

Labor and employment Ministers of G20 to put their heads together to respond to COVID-19

- The G20 Ministers adopted a “Ministerial Declaration in response to COVID-19”

 

- Apr. 23(Thu). 2020-

 

 

   □ Lee Jae-kap, minister of employment and labor, attended the G20 Extraordinary Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting, held on April 23rd (Thurs) at 8 pm.

       *  Participants: Labor and employment Ministers of G20 member states and invited countries (Spain, Switzerland, Singapore, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates), representatives from international organizations (ILO, OECD, etc.), etc.

    ㅇ At this meeting, labor and employment ministers discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the global labor market and shared each country’s employment and labor policies put in place in efforts to minimize the pandemic’s negative impact on the labor market. The Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting was held virtually at the suggestion of Saudi Arabia, the current G20 chair.

   □ Minister Lee shared Korea’s COVID-19 response and pan-governmental efforts, which are highly recognized as an exemplary case in the international community, and explained Korea’s employment and labor policies to respond to COVID-19 in three ways.

 

  First, as part of active labor market policies to protect jobs, the Korean government increased the level of support* provided via Employment Retention Subsidy program, which is provided to employers who take measures such as temporary business suspension or having employees take leave in order to retain their employees, and took measures to provide labor cost support and also exempt or defer social insurance premiums for small businesses.

   * Expanded the support to cover up to 90 percent of the temporary shutdown allowance

  Second, Korea provides unemployment benefits, as well as job seekers allowances to low-income households; provides vocational training and re-employment support for the unemployed (Employment Success Package Program); and newly established a livelihood stabilization subsidy program for the vulnerable groups, such as the dependent self-employed and freelancers, in order to provide income support to workers who suffer from income reduction due to job losses.

  Third, the Korean government encourages flexible working arrangements to prevent to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within workplaces, provides infectious disease infectious disease control and prevention support, and provides Emergency Family Care Leave Subsidy.

    ㅇ In addition, Minister Lee stressed that social safety net needs to be expanded to support the vulnerable who are hit hardest by COVID-19, and that social dialogue is crucial to effectively overcome the current crisis.

    ㅇ He added that Korea is open to sharing its best practices and lessons learned with the global community.”

   □ At this meeting, member states adopted a ministerial declaration by the G20 Labor and Employment Ministers, calling for strengthening employment policies and social safety net systems, and reinforcing international cooperation to protect jobs and income from the impact of COVID-19.

   □ The official G20 Labor and Employment Ministerial Meeting will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from September 9 (Wed) to September 10 (Thu).

 

<Remarks by the Minister of Employment and Labor>

 

Thank you Mr. Chair for giving me the floor.

 

I would first like to thank Minister Ahmad Alrajhi
and his staff for the hard work in organizing this meeting at these difficult times.

 

In the COVID-19 crisis, Korea has managed to bring the contagion under control with the number of new cases per day within 10 recently.

 

Without lockdowns, Korea has been esteemed as best practice with the 3T strategy of “Test, Trace and Treat ” under the social distancing guidance.

 

The Korean government is making all-out efforts to minimize the negative impact on the economy and the labor market during the crisis.

 

As the global labor market is being hard hit, Korea is no exception.

The labor statistics of March shows a drastic decrease in the number of the employed and a surge of new claims for unemployed benefits, and the vulnerable including the self-employed, temporary and daily workers, and the youth are most affected.

 

In that regard, the Korean government is taking three approaches to mitigate the impact on the labor market.

 

First, we are making utmost efforts to retain jobs.

 

Korea has a comprehensive short-time work scheme in place.

To cope with the crisis, we have relaxed the requirements, simplified the procedure, and significantly increased the level of benefits up to 90% of wage.

 

We also defer or exempt payment of social insurance premiums to ease the burden of small businesses

 

Second, we are enhancing the income support to workers who suffer from income reduction.

 

The unemployment benefits play a crucial role in supporting the unemployed. In the COVID-19 crisis, the number of new claims has soared.

 

The vulnerable who are not qualified with unemployment benefits, for example, the self-employed and gig economy workers are highly likely to suffer from job losses.

Thus, the government has established a massive relief program for them.

 

Third, we put forward the stricter inspection of workplaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and support workers to lessen caring responsibilities

 

Without lockdowns, Korea has implemented strict hygiene management measures to protect workers including fever checks and wearing face masks.

We are also encouraging flexible working arrangements such as teleworking and supporting the costs of infrastructure.

 

In particular, the inspection on densely populated workplaces such as call centers has been strengthened.

 

Just as other countries, Korea has closed schools, and working parents face difficulties in childcare.

 

In that regard, we are encouraging workers with care responsibilities to use annual leave, teleworking, and family-care leave, whose costs have been temporarily supported by the government.

 

Recognizing the importance of social dialogue, Korea announced the “Tripartite Declaration to overcome the COVID-19 crisis” and will reinforce the social dialogue to surmount the difficulties.

 

Wishing that G20 serves as a platform for policy exchange, Korea is open to sharing its best practices with the global community.

 

I hope that we can discuss the recovery in the post COVID-19 at the next meeting in September.

 

Thank you.

 

Last Modifide Date   :   Wed December 2, 2020
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