Small Employers Split Jobs to Save Labor Costs

  • By Kim Seung-jae

    August 28, 2018 12:59

    More and more "mini jobs" of less than 15 hours a week are opening up as an exit option for small businesses who cannot afford the minimum wage hike at a time of sluggish consumption.

    If staff work less than 15 hours a week, employers do not have to pay them the weekly holiday allowance.

    Businesses also have to pay health insurance premiums for staff who work 15 hours or more. This means an employer has to pay a part-timer who works 15 hours a week W90,000 in holiday allowance and W40,000 in social insurance premiums in addition to W450,000 in monthly pay (US$1=W1,114).

    Instead, small employers pay two staffers working less than 15 hours to share the job for less than the total for one. 

    "Mini jobs" used to be the specialty of 24-hour convenience stores who wanted to cut costs for midnight shifters, but now the format is being adopted by crammers, fitness clubs, bakeries and cafés and other kinds of small businesses.

    Even the British Council’s English language school has filled 50 assistant teaching jobs at six branches with part-timers who work less than 15 hours per week.

    A staffer of its manpower supply agency said, "We've adopted this method to cut labor costs, as regular teachers can do everything else except during peak times."

    The owner of a fitness club in Seoul's upscale Gangnam District said, "We've had to cut weekly work hours for part-timers to 14 hours in April amid price competition with other big gyms clubs nearby."

    According to Statistics Korea, 1.5 million people worked less than 17 hours per week in the second quarter of this year, up 187,000 on-year.

    Average weekly part-time working time was just 16.4 hours in the second quarter, a whopping 5.6 hours fewer than a year earlier, according to temp job portal Alba. 

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