Criticism has been raised that it is difficult to recover from the impact of COVID-19 with the 2022 health and welfare budget proposed by the government.
On the 22nd, the Social Welfare Committee of the Solidarity for Participation released an issue report, ‘Corona 19 crisis, government budget that shows no will to overcome’. The government’s health and welfare budget was analyzed.
The Solidarity for Participation argued that the budget for child care should be increased to reduce gender polarization in the labor market. The budget for the expansion of daycare centers in 2022, which is related to child care, was only maintained at the status quo, from 60.88 billion won to 60.9 billion won. The budget for the daycare center function enhancement project was reduced from 6.866 billion won to 3.859 billion won.
The Solidarity for Participation was concerned about a situation that could increase the unemployment rate for women as the responsibility for caring is shifted to women as essential institutions stop operating due to COVID-19. In fact, according to the report ‘Corona 19-caused care gap and women’s labor crisis response task’ published by the Federation of Trade Unions on the 2nd of 556 union members on a survey on the working environment and care situation due to Corona 19, women worked for 1.6 hours. Although the hours decreased, the number of care hours increased by 6.7 hours. 21.6% of women predicted that it would be difficult to maintain their current job. When asked about their experiences of considering changing jobs or resigning due to child care issues, 24.5% of women answered, “I have considered changing jobs” and 49.0% said “I have considered leaving”.
He also criticized the cuts in the budget for income security for the underprivileged. The emergency welfare support budget was revised to 215.639 billion won, which was reduced by 465.9 billion won (68.5%) from 681.544 billion won this year. The budget for one-time living support for low-income families was cut by 296 billion won this year. Emergency Welfare Support is a policy that promptly supports welfare services such as financial, in-kind, and private institution-linked support to low-income households below 75% of the median income who have difficulty maintaining a livelihood due to a sudden crisis.
They also demanded an expansion of the sickness and sickness allowance budget, which will be piloted for three years from 2022. Injury and sickness allowances increased in 2022 with a budget of 11 billion won. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance cut 17.8 billion won (61.8%) of the 28.8 billion won requested by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
The Solidarity for Participation said, “Disaster damage affects disproportionately,” and “to address the impact of COVID-19, the government needs to be bolder in policies to strengthen the social safety net and financial input to implement it.”
Polarization has become more serious after COVID-19. According to the ‘August 2021 Economically Active Population Survey Supplementary Survey Results by Work Type’ published by the National Statistical Office last month, non-regular workers accounted for 38.4% of all wage earners, up 2.1 percentage points from the same period last year. The wage gap between regular and non-regular workers is 1.57 million won, the largest since statistics were compiled. The number of non-regular workers exceeded 8 million for the first time.