Injury and sickness allowance pilot project ‘60% minimum wage’ pilot implementation

The ‘Korean-style sickness and sickness allowance system’, which pays 60% of the daily minimum wage as sickness and sickness allowance when unable to work due to illness or injury, will be trialled from July.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced on the 18th that it would carry out a pilot project for sickness and sickness allowances in three phases for three years from July. From the 19th, a public contest will be held for cities, counties, and wards to participate in the first phase of the sickness and sickness allowance pilot project. The first phase of the pilot project will be carried out in six cities, counties, and gu from July. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is planning to finalize the specific requirements for employment recognition and documents to be submitted in April. Support targets currently being discussed include the self-employed, freelancers, and platform workers.

During the period of being unable to work due to illness or injury in the pilot project area, 60% of the daily minimum wage, or 43,960 won, is paid. To receive sickness and sickness allowance, visit a medical institution, obtain a medical certificate, and submit it to the National Health Insurance Corporation website or the competent branch along with an application for injury and disease allowance. The Corporation determines and notifies the number of payday payment days after examining the supply and demand requirements, such as employment requirements, the period of inactivity, and the number of days of medical use. Recipients may return to work after the end of the beneficiary period or apply for an extension of the entitlement if unavoidable due to complications.

However, even before the pilot project started, opposition from labor, civic and social groups was strong. It is criticized that the level of income protection is too low, which reduces its effectiveness. The International Labor Organization (ILO) recommends that sickness and sickness benefits be ‘at least 60% of the income before loss of ability to work’, but in Korea, it is only 60% of the daily minimum wage. The End of Inequality 2022 Voter Network (The End of Inequality Net), composed of the KCTU and the Solidarity for Participation, called for the realization of wages and full implementation of the system, saying, “In order to increase the effectiveness of the sickness and sickness allowance system, the level of income protection must be realized.”

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