SEOUL, Mar. 18 (Korea Bizwire) — Employees with fewer than 15 hours of work hours per week increased in number last year, while they shrank in size in the wholesale/retail and food/lodging industries.
The results overturn prior expectations that the higher minimum wage has forced employers in the wholesale/retail and food/lodging industries to hire workers with shorter working hours to evade providing extra benefits.
The Korea Labor Institute revealed that there were 756,000 people last year with fewer than 15 hours of work per week, an increase of 11.3 percent over the year before.
Laborers with fewer than 15 hours of work per week are excluded from being paid a bonus that’s worth one extra day of work.
Last year, employees with fewer than 15 hours of work per week comprised 3.8 percent of all South Korean wage earners. This group has been gradually expanding in size since 2003.
The group of sub-15 hour workweek employees has expanded most rapidly in the health and social services sector (57,000 people), followed by the public administration sector (21,000 people).
In contrast, it has shrunk by 9,000 people in the wholesale/retail industry, and 5,000 people in the food/lodging industry.
By age, seniors over 60 years of age (86,000 people) have been most affected, while the numbers actually shrank by 13,000 people among those in their 40s, and by 2,000 people among those between 15 and 29 years of age.
By gender, there were 68,000 more female workers and 9,000 more men working fewer than 15 hours per week.
“A higher number of workers with a short work week in health/social services and public administration, among seniors over 60 years of age and females, shows that more seniors are participating in local social programs that hire seniors for a variety of social work,” said Lim Dong-bin, a researcher at Korea Labor Institute.
Lim also explained that a lower turnout of employees with short work weeks in the wholesale/retail and food/lodging industries make it too soon to judge that the overall rise in the number of such groups is the result of small businesses ‘splitting up working hours’ to evade providing extra benefits to employees.
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)