SEOUL, June 15 (Korea Bizwire) – A South Korean court has ruled that the age limit for labor work must be 65, instead of the existing limit, 60. On June 13, Suwon District Court stated that an individual referred to only as Ms. A, who had been working as a charwoman and happened to had a car accident disenabling her to work no more, had a right to that effect. The defendant in her 60s was hit by a car on a road in Gunpo, Gyeonggi-do, on November 1, 2013, and her right foot was broken.
The car owner’s insurance company offered Ms. A (65) approximately 9.7 million won in compensation for medical treatment, but then filed a lawsuit against Ms. A for partial compensation while claiming that she was also responsible for negligence while walking. Ms. A filed a counter-suit for lost wages of 6.7 million won, claiming that she would have been “employed” as a visiting housework assistant if she were not involved in the accident.
The feasible age limit for manual labor workers such as a housework assistant claimed in Ms. A’s case is beyond the precedent by the Supreme Court, which was set at 60. The Supreme Court has regarded the feasible age as 60 since a landmark ruling in 1989, Ms. A maintained that she could have worked longer even though she was injured after the age of 60. Accordingly, the trial court ruled against Ms. A based on a precedent from the Supreme Court, and the appellate court overturned the initial ruling.
“Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in 1989 that set the maximum feasible age for labor work at 60, the average life span, economic activity rate and employment rate of elderly people among the current population has rapidly increased”, Suwon District Court Chief Judge Jong-kwang Lee explained.
“This trend is not congruent with the feasible age from the precedent,” the court added. The court decided that the feasible age limit for manual work must be 65 based on two grounds: the Senior Citizens’ Welfare and Basic Pension Act consider senior citizens as those who are 65 or above; and the employment rate of people who are age 65 or above is only 30.6 percent while the rate between age 60 and 64 is 59.4 percent.
The court then judged that the insurance company must pay 3.38 million won to Ms. A, which is her projected income (estimated income without injury) based on the fact that her feasible age limit is 65.
Ashley Song (Ashley@koreabizwire.com)