|▲ Rep. Woo Won-shik, floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party and two national trade union centers of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions(FKTU) and Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) discuss the reduction of working hours in a meeting held in November last year,(Jeong ki-hoon/Korea Daily Labor News)|
It is confirmed that the government and ruling party mull over the measures to allow time off in lieu of double premium pay of the overtime-holiday work allowance. The measures also include paid public holidays applied to all wage workers. Attention is growing whether such measures will be adopted internally within the ruling party as a single proposal and subsequently gain the approval of the opposition parties as well as trade unions and employers' organizations.
According to the political and labor circles on Feb. 11, the government and ruling party which for a while have shown internal disagreement as to the revision bill of the Labor Standards Act to cut working hours are reportedly undertaking the preparation work for a single proposal. On Feb. 9, officials of the Ministry of Employment and Labor met with lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party belonging to the Environment and Labor Committee of the National Assembly to brief its review on the bill.
The Ministry of Employment and Labor proposes in its review that the overtime-holiday double premium rates are not applied, but time off in lieu is given to the workers who work on holidays as a compensation. The weekly 52 working hours (including 12 extended working hours) will be implemented in phases, and even if time off in lieu is not used by workers, the monetary compensation will not be made.
MOEL proposal also contains that public holidays shall be added to paid holidays currently regulated by the Labor Standards Act so that all workers shall be benefited from the change.
While MOEL proposal shows a positive aspect in promoting the increase of holidays rather than allowance payment, which is expected to cut working hours, it is pointed out that it is not in compliance with the court ruling that upheld the holiday work allowance with double premium rates. The decision of the Supreme Court en banc hearing on an appeals case concerned which is currently under might be a potential stumbling block in the execution of time off in lieu.
The prospect toward a single proposal remains in doubt, as the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) already expressed its opposition and even ruling party lawmakers are not in agreement in their views, coupled with the legislature's proceedings in a stalemate.
reported by Kim Hak-tae
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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