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Minister puts emphasis on responding to the changes in the world of work driven by COVID-19 and providing social protection to the vulnerable

Minister puts emphasis on responding to the changes in the world of work driven by COVID-19 and providing social protection to the vulnerable

- Announced determination to implement the ‘Korean New Deal Initiative’ at the G20 Labor and Employment Ministerial Meeting-


-Sep. 11(Fri). 2020-


  □  Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jae-kap attended the G20 Labor and Employment Ministerial Meeting held virtually on September 10th (Thu.) 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 Following the G20 Extraordinary Labor and Employer Ministerial Meeting held virtually in April 23, the Labor and Employer Ministers Meeting scheduled to take place in Saudi Arabia was conducted virtually.

    ㅇ In this meeting, G20 Ministers discussed ways to strengthen social protection in order to mitigate the COVID-19 impact on the labor market and to respond to the changes in the world of work.

  □ Minister Lee shared Korea’s employment and labor policies to minimize the labor market shocks triggered by COVID-19, and introduced the “Korean New Deal Initiative,” established to proactively respond to the future of work in the post-COVID-19 world.

    ㅇ He introduced Korea’s policy efforts to overcome the employment crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic in four ways.

   ❶ First, the Korean government significantly increased its Employment Retention Subsidies for employers and employees to protect jobs, and also extended the period of support for Special Employment Support Sectors, such as tourism, travel, and airline that have been hit hardest.

       *      The Budget for Employment Retention Subsidies was increased from 35.1 billion won to 2163.2 billion won, and the support period for Special Employment Support Sectors was extended from until June to until September

      *    Special Employment Support Sectors (8 sectors): travel, tourist transportation (airline, shipping, charter bus), tourism and lodging, performance, aircraft ground handling, duty free and travel retail, airport bus, and exhibition and international convention sectors

  ❷ Second, Korea provided income support for the unemployed and those not covered by the Employment Insurance via a variety of income support programs, including Emergency Employment Stability Subsidy program.

  ❸ Third, Korea responded to the rapidly increasing need for workers to take care of their family members due to the spread of the virus and promoted adoption of flexible working arrangements and telecommuting.

  ❹ Fourth, Korea set up a plan to create about 550,000 jobs for the vulnerable such as youth, using government fund to brace for worsening job market.

   □ In addition, the Minister briefed on the “Korean New Deal Initiative,” established to proactively respond to changes in the world of work in the world after COVID-19.

    ㅇ He stated that Korea plans to support the shift towards a digital and green labor market through large investments in the digital and green industries, as well as through people-centered investments that can help nurture future-oriented talent and strengthen the employment safety net.

    ㅇ Minister Lee added that to ensure that at least the minimum social protection is provided to all workers, the Korean government is making efforts to gradually expand the coverage of Employment Insurance, and to implement an unemployment assistance program (National Employment Support program) from next year to provide income and job-seeking support to the vulnerable.

  □ At this meeting, G20 Labor and Employment Ministers stressed the importance of protecting the vulnerable amid the COVID-19 crisis and creating job-centered policies in the economic recovery phase.

    ㅇ Finally, G20 Ministers adopted the G20 Labor and Employment Ministerial Declaration, calling for reinforcing the social protection system, supporting the vulnerable such as youth and women, and promoting international cooperation.


(Remarks by the Minister of Employment and Labor)


Thank you Mr. Chair for giving me the floor.

In April, we benefited from each other by sharing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and policy responses.

However, the uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic still persists globally.

Thanks to effective containment measures, recent situation of COVID-19 in Korea is relatively managed, but concerns over a potential second wave of virus still remain.

Korea’s labor market situation reached a steep trough in April, and since then employment indicators have been improved gradually. However, what is important is COVID-19 has particularly aggravated situations of the vulnerable in the labor market.

COVID-19 is also further accelerating changes in the world of work such as the emergence of platform work and flexible working arrangements triggered by technological advances.

This raised the need for social protection scheme for all working persons.

Against this backdrop, Korea has put all its efforts to maintain jobs and expand social protection to protect the vulnerable.

First, with the start of COVID-19, Korea has significantly increased the amount and duration of Employment Retention Subsidies for companies to maintain jobs.

Second, the government implements emergency income support programs for workers on unpaid leave, gig economy workers, freelancers, and small business owners whose incomes have drastically reduced but not covered by the employment insurance.

In order to develop the social protection scheme against income loss for all working persons, we are taking two approaches.

One is to introduce unemployment assistance programs for the low-income unemployed who are not covered by the employment insurance. Its legislation has been completed and is to be effective from January next year.

The other is to expand the coverage of employment insurance to all working persons.

The government plans to expand its coverage gradually for all working persons including artists, gig economy workers, freelancers, and independent contractors.

Third, workers who take child-care responsiblities need to be protected during school closure or remote learining at home.

Korea expanded family-care leave and child-care services, and promotes flexible working arrangements and telecommuting.

Meanwhile, we have to proactively respond to the future of work and the post-pandemic.

Korean government is pushing forward the Korean New Deal Initiative, where large investments are made in digital and green industries.

In order to support shift towards a digital and green economy, the government expands investments in people including human resources development(HRD) and vocational training.

Mr. Chair, Ministers, and Social Partners!

Today’s meeting is very meaningful in that we shared policies to address the COVID-19 crisis and

changes in the world of work under the spirit of solidarity and cooperation.

I hope that we have face-to-face discussions on employment policies for the post-pandemic phase, next year.

Thank you.



Last Modifide Date   :   Wed December 2, 2020
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