SEOUL, Jul. 18 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s minimum wage for 2018 has risen to 7,530 won ($6.70), after a government council voted nine to six in favor of the labor side of the negotiation team, pushing the country’s minimum wage above the likes of Israel and Spain.
Compared to this year’s 6,470 won, next year’s minimum wage in South Korea will increase by 16.4 percent, the biggest jump since 2001, which means full-time workers should be making a minimum of 1,573,770 won per month.
President Moon welcomed the committee’s decision, as he called it the green light for a 10,000 won minimum wage, which he promised to deliver on by 2020.
Speaking at a meeting held at the Blue House yesterday, Moon said, “A minimum wage of 10,000 won is not just an hourly wage rate, but a symbol of everyone’s right to live decently.
“This decision by the minimum wage council is especially meaningful in that it was the first time in eight years where both the labor and business side participated in the vote and discussion and compromise came to fruition,” Moon said.
The minimum wage in South Korea has typically grown between 7 to 8 percent each year in the past, due to the stark difference between an ideal minimum wage proposed by both the labor and business sides, each consisting of nine members at the negotiating table.
However, the minimum wage committee appointed by the government this year played an active role in the decision making process, bringing the final decision down to a vote between a total of 18 members on a minimum wage of 7,530 won, after the labor and business representatives fought for 8,330 and 6,740 won, respectively.
In response to the worries over the growing burden feared to be felt by small business owners in the coming years, Moon pledged to cover any excess surpassing 7.4 percent in the annual minimum wage rise for small and medium sized companies over the next five years.
Under the current government’s plan, the minimum wage is set to rise to 7,481 won in 2018 and 8,649 won in 2019 until it reaches the Moon administration’s end goal of 10,000 won.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)