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6. Minimum Wage, Income-Led Growth, 52-Hour Workweek: Moon Jae-in Administration’s Economic Policies Pass Halfway Point

2019-12-31



President Moon Jae-in’s five-year term in office reached halfway point on November 9 and his key economic policies are starting to gain ground.

While the administration’s minimum wage hike has adjusted its pace, the 52-hour workweek has taken effect and the income-led growth policy is expanding to become an innovative growth policy.

Next year’s minimum wage hike has been set at eight-thousand-590 won, up two-point-nine percent from this year. The Minimum Wage Commission finalized the rate after a 13-hour marathon of talks in July. The latest wage hike is the third lowest in history and the lowest under the Moon Jae-in administration. The rate of increase was 16-point-four percent in 2018 and ten-point-nine percent in 2019.

Businesses and public institutions employing 300 workers or more adopted the 52-hour workweek system on July 1, 2018 and those employing less than 300 people will follow in phases in 2020 and 2021.

The government’s decision to give small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs) a one-year grace period to adopt the system next year and allow authorized extended work hours faced strong opposition from labor unions, while business groups welcomed it.

Income-led growth was not included in the government’s key policy announcements this year, sparking speculation over a major policy change, but the government reaffirmed its commitment, saying it plans to direct focus towards innovative growth based on achievements thus far.

The opposition bloc, on the other hand, is calling for a policy change, criticizing the government for worsening economic conditions by introducing steep wage hikes and enforcing the 52-hour workweek.

Photo : KBS News

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