Temporary Employment Still on the Rise

  • By Gwak Rae-geon

    July 02, 2020 08:52

    The number of temporary workers keeps increasing despite government efforts to give more employees permanent contracts.

    According to Statistics Korea, the number of temporary workers stood at 6.27 million in 2015 to account for 32.5 percent of all salaried workers in Korea. But that rose to a record 7.48 million last year and 36.4 percent.

    While employers in the public sector gave permanent contracts to more than 190,000 workers, the total number of temporary staff in the private sector rose as companies tried to cut costs.

    The government has promised to force private employers to give permanent contracts to all workers who have been with the company for two years, but that means companies simply fire them when their temporary contracts expire and replace them.

    The government is also reluctant to interfere too much in case companies lay off too many temporary staff.

    Businesses and labor groups are at odds over the definition of temporary workers. Businesses argue that permanent staff at subcontracted companies should be viewed as regular staff on their own payrolls and earn them brownie points. But labor groups say that is nonsense, though the government currently classifies them that way.

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