Public Payroll Costs Surpass W30 Trillion

  • By Sun Jung-min

    July 01, 2020 11:36

    Public payrolls have surpassed W30 trillion for the first time ever as the government continues to give all temporary workers permanent contracts (US$1=W1,204).

    At the same time new hires have either been halted or reduced as staff costs increase at cash-strapped state-run companies, including those involved in new-energy projects.

    According to data from the Ministry of Economy and Finance on Tuesday, the total public payroll budget has increased by W2.7 trillion from last year to W30.29 trillion. The cost was only W21.1 trillion in 2015.

    Out of 339 public institutions, 320 saw payroll costs rise, 194 of them at double-digit rates. At power monopoly KEPCO, which gave regular employment contracts to around 8,000 temporary workers over the past year, payroll costs increased 11.5 percent or W210 billion.

    Union members of Incheon International Airport rally against a new hiring plan in Seoul on June 25.

    At Korea Water Resources Corporation payroll costs rose 26.5 percent or W136.9 billion, at Korea Land and Housing Corporation 20.6 percent or W131.2 billion, and at Korea Development Bank 31.3 percent or W104.9 billion.

    KEPCO's debts soared W14 trillion due to the nuclear phaseout, while Korea Water Resources Corporation's debts rise by around W3 trillion.

    According to government information website Alio, public institutions gave permanent contracts to 91,303 temporary workers since 2017, when President Moon Jae-in took office, until the first quarter of this year.

    But new hires in the public sector, which used to increase every year, declined from 33,716 in 2018 to 33,447 last year.

    United Future Party lawmaker Choo Kyung-ho, who published the figures, said, "Payrolls rose due to the drastic shift to permanent employment, which made it more difficult to hire new staff and decreased chances of employment for young people."

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