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The Korean government to implement the “Korean New Deal Initiative” to respond to changes in the world of work after the COVID-19 pandemic


The Korean government to implement the “Korean New Deal Initiative” to respond to changes in the world of work after the COVID-19 pandemic

- Employment and Labor Minister Lee Jae-kap unveils the initiative at the ILO Virtual Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work -


- Jul, 10(Fri). 2020-


  □  Lee Jae-kap, minister of employment and labor, attended the ILO Virtual Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work, held on July 9th (Thurs) at 7 pm.

      *   Participants: Labor and employment Ministers of ILO member states, representatives from international organizations and employer and trade union leaders, etc.

    ㅇ Minister Lee introduced Korea’s employment and labor policies underway to overcome the COVID-19 crisis, namely efforts to protect jobs, provide income support to the vulnerable, and to create new jobs.

  □  In addition, Minister Lee announced that the Korean government is implementing the “Korean New Deal Initiative” to proactively respond to changes in the world of work in the post-COVID-19 world.

    ㅇ Specifically, he explained that the Korean government plans to make large investments in the digital and green industries, and expand investments to foster talent in digital and new technology sectors in order to accelerate labor market recovery and create quality jobs.

    ㅇ The Minister also stated that to ensure that at least the minimum social protection is provided to all workers, the Korean government is planning to implement an unemployment assistance program from next year to provide income and job-seeking support to the vulnerable, and to gradually expand the coverage of Employment Insurance in the long term.

  □  He stressed the importance of social dialogue to overcome the COVID-19 crisis, and added that Korea will strengthen tripartite cooperation and also continue its efforts to ratify the ILO fundamental Conventions.

  □ This meeting was organized as the upcoming session of the annual International Labour Conference, originally scheduled to be held this year, was deferred until 2021 due to COVID-19, upon which the ILO secretariat proposed to provide a contactless venue for communication between labor, management, and the government.

    ㅇ The ILO Virtual Global Summit was held for two weeks under the theme “COVID-19 and the World of Work.”

    ㅇ The first stage of the global summit (took place July 1-3) featured a series of virtual tripartite regional events*, and the second stage of the summit (took place July 7-9) featured Global Leaders’ Day (on July 8), in which video messages from Heads of State and Government and representatives from international organizations were broadcasted, and ILO Constituents’ Day (on July 9), in which a virtual ministerial meeting was held between labour ministers, workers’ and employers’ leaders from ILO member States.

      * Asia and the Pacific, Arab States, Europe & Central Asia, Africa, Americas

    ㅇ The global summit featured addresses from Heads of State and Government, in which President Moon Jae-In addressed the summit via video message introducing Korea’s exemplary infectious disease prevention and control experience and the “Korean New Deal Initiative” designed to prepare the country for the post-COVID-19 world.

    ㅇ The discussions from this meeting will be reflected in formulating implementation strategies for the Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, adopted in 2019 at the 108th International Labour Conference, as well as ILO Plan of Action and budget allocation in the future.


(Remarks by the Minister of Employment and Labor)


Thank you Mr. Chair.

We agreed during the last ILC on human-centered approach to achieve decent, full and productive employment when responding to changes in the world of work.

We adopted the ILO Centenary Declaration that sets out new roles of the ILO to face challenges of the future.

However, the attack of the COVID-19 this year has inflicted great damages to our labour markets.

According to the 5th ILO report on COVID-19,nearly 400 million jobs were lost
and women and youth have suffered disproportionately.

Our indicators also worsened as the employment fell and unemployment surged from March.

Reduction of female employees was 1.5 times higher than that of male in May
and youth employment is decreasing by a big margin.

To protect jobs and the vulnerable, Korea has put all its efforts to make a national comprehensive policy package which is worth 232 billion dollars.

With the start of COVID-19, Korea has swiftly increased Employment Retention Subsidies for companies, and concentrated support for sectors such as tourism, travel, and airline that are hit hardest by the virus.

To reduce women’s childcare burden due to school closure, we increased working hour reduction subsidy and provided temporary subsidies for unpaid statutory family care leave.

Gig economy workers, small business owners and the independent contractors are most affected by COVID-19 as they are not covered by employment insurance.

To support these groups, the government provides large scale income supports worth 1.4 billion dollars(1.7조원), including “Emergency Employment Security Subsidies”.

Persisting COVID-19 may lead to job market worsening until the end of the year.

Therefore, a large-scale budget has been allocated to create 550 thousand jobs in both public and private sectors to retain vulnerable groups such as youth in the labor market.

Globally, COVID-19 is triggering a major upheaval in the economic and social structure, making untact and digitalized economy a new norm.

To accelerate post-pandemic recovery, we are preparing for a “Korean New Deal”
where large investments are made in digital and green industries.

Here, we are seeking to create decent jobs through investments in people
that include HRD, vocational training, and employment services tailored to individual life-cycle.

In addition, to ensure that all workers can enjoy minimum social protection,
the government is taking two approaches.

First, we have completed legislation for unemployment assistance to support income and job-search of the vulnerable, to be implemented from January next year.

Second, we plan to expand the coverage of employment insurance
to all workers including artists, gig economy workers, freelancers, and independent contractors.

The government fully values social dialogue in the fight against the disease.
Workers, employers and the government, therefore, came together and reached an agreement in March on ‘the tripartite declaration on overcoming COVID-19’.Efforts to ratify fundamental conventions will continue and I hope that the newly elected National Assembly will respond to this.


Mr. Chair,

Now is the time when international cooperation is most critical.

All the meetings during the past two weeks have been very timely and useful,
and I hope we will benefit from each other’s ideas in building a better future.


Thank you.


Last Modifide Date   :   Wed December 2, 2020
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