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[labor news] Statistics on non-regular workers to be revised in 16 years
▲ A meeting on the statistics on special forms of employment at the presidential job committee office. (Yon Yun-jung/The Labor Today)

It is widely believed that the diversified changes in the forms of employment over the years has boosted the special forms of employment, but the national statistics showed that the number of employment has decreased. Critics say that the national statistics does not catch up with the changes in reality. Labor, business and the government have agreed to rectify the errors in the labor statistics by including the special forms of employment as a survey target in the non-wage employment supplementary of the economically active population survey in August this year.

The Presidential Committee on Job Creation on August 29 held a meeting for the tripartite members 'to discuss the measures to improve the statistics on non-regular workers and to adopt the final report' at the presidential job committee office in Jongro District, Seoul. The presidential job committee formed a taskforce team comprising representatives from two trade union centers: Federation of Korean Trade Unions(FKTU) and Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU), Korea Employers Federation, Job Committee, Ministry of Employment and Labor, Statistics Korea, and independent specialists in February this year and conducted 10 rounds of deliberations for 5 months until July this year before the final agreement was adopted.

According to the presidential job committee, the existing supplementary survey on non-regular workers limits its questionaire only to five categories of special forms of employment: insurance salespeople, home-study teachers, 'quick-service' couriers, parcel delivery workers, and golf caddies.

As this method of survey did not fully reflect the changed reality that the special forms of employment have increased due to the emerging gig economy and the expansion of platform jobs, the statistics shows that the number of workers in the special forms of employment has decreased over the past 10 years. The number of workers in the special forms of employment was 603,000 in August 2008 and it increased to 644,000 in August 2009, but since then, it steadily decreased to 598,000 in August 2010, 502,000 in August 2015, and 497,000 in 2017.

The taskforce team pointed out that "the statistics based on the existing survey method would underestimate the real scale of the workers, because some would be excluded due to the classification of non-wage employment or they might be engaged in the jobs unlisted as special forms of employment in the survey."

In fact, according to a survey result of the Ministry of Employment and Labor in 2011, it was estimated that approximately 2.5 million workers were engaged in the special forms of employment, which is five times higher than the government statistics. It is now estimated that the number may have exceeded 3 million workers according to the rapidly increasing trend of such jobs.

The taskforce team agreed to expand the survey scope for the special forms of employment to include the non-wage workers, commencing from August this year. The non-wage workers were usually classified as the self-employed. It also decided to refer to the recommendation to be made by the International Labor Organization on the revision proposal on the international classification of status in employment(ICSE-18) around the end of this year.

reported by Yon Yun-jung
translated by Kim Sung-jin

번역 김성진  goyong1472@gmail.com

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