February 15, 2019 13:42
President Moon Jae-in on Thursday defended the drastic minimum wage hike to owners of small businesses who had been invited to Cheong Wa Dae.
"I'm aware of the difficulties small businesses face partly because of the minimum wage hike," he said. "But from a long-term perspective, we need to increase it."
Small business owners told Moon at the meeting that the minimum-wage hike and shorter working week are squeezing them out of business. They asked him to moderate the pace of the hike next year or freeze it.
Moon promised to consider their views. But he did not say what if any steps he would take to accommodate their views. Instead, he stressed need to offer state subsidies for small businesses, increase welfare benefits and slash credit-card transaction fees for small business owners to make up for their greater costs (US$1=W1,128).
But he laid the blame on lawmakers, saying, "Such measures should be able to ease your burden to some extent, but they are up to the National Assembly to pass."
Around 190 small business owners took part in the meeting.
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