SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean plans to expand the period of parental leave of working parents from the current one year to one year and six months, the labor ministry said Monday.
The Ministry of Employment and Labor also said it plans to increase the quota of foreign workers with non-professional employment visas for this year to alleviate pandemic-induced labor shortages.
The plans were included in Labor Minister Lee Jeong-sik’s report to President Yoon Suk Yeol on his ministry’s work plan for this year.
First, the government is pushing to guarantee up to 18 months of parental leave for each parent when both are working.
The plan is the government’s effort to encourage more couples to seek maternity or paternity leave to cope with the country’s extremely low birthrate, officials said.
Also, the labor ministry has decided to issue the E-9 visa to an annual record high of 110,000 foreign workers this year.
The decision was made as the industries relying heavily on the immigrant workforce have experienced labor shortages amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and the heightened border controls.
The government also plans to revise a relevant law so that foreign workers can stay more than 10 years without going through the process of departure and re-entry to guarantee their skills.
The labor ministry will also push forward a policy to reduce deaths or injuries caused at workplaces by enforcing companies to adopt a risk assessment system.
Starting this year, the government plans to enforce companies with 300 or more employees to adopt the system and further expand it to smaller firms with five or more employees by 2025
The government will conduct an investigation on whether such a system was properly executed in case of workplace deaths or injuries, the officials said.
Also, the labor ministry plans to launch a committee by the end of this month to discuss measures to reorganize the wage system centered around performance.
The committee will be comprised of personnel managers, workers, experts in labor law or labor-management relations, and government officials.