SEJONG, DAEJEON, Jan. 5 (Korea Bizwire) — A well-intentioned mandate issued by the prior presidential administration seeking to procure employment options for women returning to the workplace, is on its last legs, wobbling underneath the weight of criticism that the presidential decree has caused more problems than it is worth.
The Ministry of Personnel Management and the Ministry of the Interior and Safety disclosed yesterday that a bill to abolish a hiring quota for part-time staff is currently pending review at the Ministry of Government Legislation after being placed on public notice in late December.
The bill in question will blot out a clause from Article 51 Section 6 of a presidential decree regarding the appointment of public employees in municipalities. This clause stipulates that 1 percent of all prospective hires at public employee levels 7 or lower must be part-time staff (public employee levels range from 1 [highest] to 9 [lowest]).
Opinions on the impending change are mixed; while some have made the point that municipal authorities will enjoy greater autonomy in hiring, others have argued that hiring numbers overall will suffer, since one of the problems frequently cited with the part-time work program was the lack of work efficiency.
Though the motive for keeping open part-time slots was to ensure a healthy work-life balance, ambiguity with the program’s explicit purpose as well as the policies that have been implemented in support of it have generated a great deal of noise.
Stories of part-time hires unable to choose their working hours, contrary to expectations, and putting in more than their share of time at the office have floated to the surface, while office politics and bias have reportedly created discontent in many working environments.
The 5 percent rate of workers at the national level calling it quits or deciding not to accept a job offer is attributed to such concerns. The combined turnover and job refusal rate is believed to be vastly higher at the municipal level.
As of the end of 2016, there were 2,400 public employees in part-time positions, but the current number is thought to be considerably lower due to increasing attrition since the part-time work program was adopted by national and municipal government offices.
The Ministry of Interior and Safety currently does not possess statistical data on part-time staff throughout the provinces, leaving many to question whether one of its previous justifications for the program, that it would be used as an assessment tool for state-operated enterprises, is no longer on the government’s agenda. The Ministry of Interior and Safety is tasked with overseeing the part-time hiring program concerning municipal positions.
The bill revoking the part-time hiring quota will only apply to municipalities, as national institutions have continued to hire freely at their own discretion. The latter’s hiring practices have thus far not been subject to any hiring quotas.
The part-time employee program entitles individuals to work 20-hour weeks with the flexibility to design their own work schedules.
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