In this presidential election, 40 days before the election, in a situation where there was strong criticism that ‘labor was invisible’, Democratic Party candidate Lee Jae-myung made a ‘labor pledge’ on the 26th. It included promises reflecting the changing labor market, such as the ‘Basic Act on the Protection of Workers’ Rights’, a 4.5-day workweek, and a just labor transition. It also showed promises to upgrade the Moon Jae-in government’s labor policy, such as securing employment for irregular workers and eliminating discrimination, guaranteeing the right to unionize, and reducing major accidents.
Step-by-step application of the short-term law with fewer than 5 people “Avoid war between the two”
Enactment of the principle of direct employment of regular employees for permanent continuation and life safety work
One of the new and representative promises in this candidate’s labor pledge is the enactment of the ‘Workers’ Rights Guarantee Basic Act’. The goal is to protect everyone who works, including digital and new technology transitions and the increasing number of special employment and platform workers, freelancers, and self-employed individuals in the face of COVID-19.
It is also an agenda that has been constantly raised by the labor and academic circles about the problem that the existing labor-related laws do not cover the increasingly diverse and complex forms of employment. Justice Party presidential candidate Shim Sang-jung also reflected the demands of the times and included the new labor law as a promise.
It also promised to gradually apply the Labor Standards Act to workplaces with fewer than 5 employees. Candidate Lee said, “The full application of the Labor Severance Act will put a heavy burden on small businesses. “It is also important to prevent a war between them,” he said.
In addition, he added, “We will realize the national employment insurance based on income at an early stage to guarantee opportunities to take on new challenges overcoming unemployment and failure.”
In the case of non-regular workers, the ‘fair pay for non-regular workers’ introduced in Gyeonggi-do was formalized. In proportion to employment instability, such as the length of service, 5% to 10% of the basic wage (living wage) is paid differentially. He often mentioned that “non-regular workers should be paid more than regular workers.”
Candidate Lee said that he would introduce fair pay for non-regular workers to central administrative agencies and public institutions, while recommending it to the private sector and giving incentives to companies that introduced it. In addition, he made it clear that “the law will stipulate the principle of hiring regular workers for regular and continuous work and life and safety work to limit the indiscriminate use of non-regular workers by companies.”
4 days a week open, ‘Justice Transition Control Tower’ established
The Moon Jae-in government guarantees the right to unionize and succeeds in reducing major accidents
The 4.5 days a week system is a promise that catches the eye. Candidate Lee said, “We will start a social dialogue for the introduction of the 4.5-day work week and promote a pilot project for the phased introduction. will spread,” he said. Although it is a 4.5-day work week, it is evaluated that the door to a four-day work week has been opened. A four-day week system is a representative promise made by Candidate Sang-Jeong Shim, which is also interpreted as a reflection of Candidate Lee in the sense that it is a demand of the times that emphasizes work-life balance and quality of life.
In line with the industrial transformation according to digital and carbon neutrality, it also came up with an idea for a ‘just transition’. Candidate Lee said, “In preparation for the great industrial transformation, we will install a ‘just transition’ control tower that manages successful job conversion and career development within the Carbon Neutrality Committee and create a ‘job creation roadmap’ through social dialogue. In addition to providing sufficient social safety nets, we will support education and training and job change and change services.”
The promises that succeeded and developed the Moon Jae-in administration’s ‘labor-respecting society’ policy are also notable. He promised to reorganize the workers’ representative system as a system to represent the voices of non-regular and unorganized workers, guarantee the participation of non-regular workers’ representatives, and establish a Korean-style labor chamber. The government will actively support the revitalization of initial business negotiations and the expansion of the effect of collective agreements, and if unorganized and vulnerable workers voluntarily create a local labor welfare fund. He also promised to guarantee political activities unrelated to their duties outside of working hours for teachers and public officials.
The Moon Jae-in government has pursued a number of policies aimed at reducing the number of deaths from industrial accidents by half. Candidate Lee also said, “I will lower the death rate from industrial accidents to below the OECD average.” △ Mandating the establishment of an integrated industrial safety and health committee for contractors and subcontractors △ Establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Agency △ Expanding sickness and sickness benefits △ Progressive promotion of industrial accident insurance across the nation △ Promised to introduce safety and health disclosure system in stages.
Kim Jong-jin, Senior Research Fellow at the Korea Labor and Social Research Institute, said, “Protecting workers from changing employment patterns and the labor market, and just labor conversion in line with the climate crisis, has emerged as a new task for the next government. The lack of concrete promises such as bridging the gender gap in the labor market is a task that needs to be addressed in the future,” he said.