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Posted : 2013-07-05 20:11
Updated : 2013-07-05 20:11

Minimum wage to rise 7.2 % in 2014

Park Jun-sung, left, chairman of the Minimum Wage Council, shakes hands with an unidentified negotiator at the council's headquarters in Seoul,
Friday. / Yonhap
By Kim Se-jeong

The minimum wage will rise 7.2 percent to 5,210 won ($4.57) per hour next year.

The Minimum Wage Council reached a deal on the increase Friday in a 15-1 vote with nine abstentions.

This latest move means an employee can earn at least 1.08 million won in monthly wages with a 40-hour workweek.

"The increase is expected to benefit nearly 2.56 million workers in the lowest income bracket," Chun Hae-seon from the council told The Korea Times.

Friday's deal failed to meet an initial June 27 deadline. Next week, the Ministry of Employment and Labor will give its approval too.

However, labor unions are dissatisfied with the deal. "We call for at least a double-digit increase," a member of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions said.

A staffer of the Korea Employers Federation also described the result as unfortunate. "The 7.2-percent increase will bring a burden on small business owners, especially ones with less than 30 employees."

The minimum wage negotiation is done annually with a history of clashes among the three parties involved. The council arbitrates between parties representing employees and employers.

During this year's negotiations, the party representing the employees' interest demanded a 21.6-percent increase to 5,901 won, while employers insisted the rate be frozen, dragging the process as a result.

The council does its own calculation taking into account workers' living costs and average wages, the national economic growth rate, inflation rate and income distribution rate.

The raise still invites a question: Is this enough?

That has been at the heart of debates on minimum wage for so long.

The labor unions believe the amount is far from being enough, calling on the government to push for a meaningful raise that will be enough to support an entire household. The other party has generally been opposed to an increase.

Minimum wage negotiations in Korea began in 1988, two years after the Minimum Wage Act was enacted.

Back then, the minimum wage was 462.5 won per hour.

관련 한글 기사

내년 최저임금 시간당 5천210원…7.2% 인상

내년도 시간당 최저임금이 올해보다 7.2%(350원) 오른 5천210원으로 결정됐다.

최저임금위원회는 4일 오후 7시부터 시작된 7차 전원회의에서 이같이 내년도 최저임금 인상안을 심의·의결했다고 5일 밝혔다.

이날 회의에는 공익위원 9명, 사용자 위원 9명, 근로자 위원 9명 등 27명의 위원이 모두 참석했다.

내년도 최저임금 인상안은 전체 27명의 위원 중 24명이 투표에 참석해 15명이 찬성표를, 9명이 사실상 기권표를 던지면서 통과됐다. 최저임금 심의ㆍ의결을 위해서는 전체 위원 과반 투표에 참여자 과반의 찬성이 필요하다.

민주노총측 위원 3명은 인상안이 상정되기 전에 퇴장했고, 사용자측 위원은 투표 개시 후 9명이 모두 나가버리면서 기권처리 됐다.

이번에 인상된 내년도 시간당 최저임금을 월 단위로 환산하면 주 40시간(월 209시간) 사업장 기준으로 108만8천890원이다.

최저임금위원회는 이번에 인상된 최저임금이 저소득에 시달리는 근로자 256만5천명에게 혜택을 줄 수 있을 것으로 추산했다.

올해 최저임금 심의·의결은 법정시한인 지난달 27일을 넘긴 지 일주일 만에 타결됐다. 



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