SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of South Korean employees working fewer than 15 hours a week reached a new high last year, a statistics agency said Thursday.
Statistics Korea reported that there were 1,577,000 people working between one and 14 hours per week last year, an increase of 65,000 people from the previous year.
These part-timers accounted for 5.6 percent of all employees in the country, the highest proportion since statistics were first recorded in 2000.
Employees working less than 15 hours a week are excluded from benefits like extra pay, severance pay and paid leave. They are also not eligible to join the national health insurance as employees.
Employers deliberately hire multiple part-time workers to avoid giving out such benefits.
The number of employees working less than 15 hours a week increased by 135,000 in 2018 and by 207,000 in 2019.
When social distancing began in 2020, the number grew by no more than 2,000 people. In 2021, however, the surge regained speed, going up by 208,000 people.
Sorted by type of industry, the number of employees working less than 15 hours a week grew by 935,000 in the business, personal and public service sector, and others, an increase of 44,000 people from the previous year.
There were 331,000 employees working less than 15 hours a week in the wholesale, retail, accommodation, and restaurant sector, up by 11,000 people. In the agriculture and fisheries sector (144,000 people), the increase was 16,000 people.
“The increasing number of part-time employees working fewer than 15 hours a week indicates a deterioration of job stability,” said Kim Yoo-bin, senior researcher at Korea Labor Institute.
Ashley Song (email@example.com)