In 1988, the country adopted the minimum wage system, whose purpose is to protect the rights and interests of workers. There has been a gradual increase in the statutory minimum wage, and the hourly minimum wage for 2020 was set at KRW 8,590. Other relevant acts have been enforced, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity and Work-Family Balance Assistance Act, which realizes equal employment for both genders by guaranteeing equal opportunities and treatment in employment between men and women, in addition to the mandatory employment quota for people with disabilities, which requires companies to hire workers with disabilities above a certain rate.
In addition, social insurance schemes are carried out against contingencies relating to disaster, disease, unemployment, and death. Workers are covered by industrial accident compensation insurance against work-related accidents, diseases, or deaths. All of the people shall be covered by national health insurance.
As of the end of 2018, 51 million people or 98.6% of the entire population enjoyed the benefits provided under the state-run national health insurance system. The Korean national health-care system, which provides a high-quality medical service for reasonable service fees, has been appraised as an exemplary case by other countries.
Workers are covered by employment insurance. When an insured worker is dismissed voluntarily, he/she is entitled to half of his/her wage for a given period and to job transfer training. Workers are also subject to retirement pension and national pension plans.
In addition, workers are entitled to take partially paid parental leave for one year. Pregnant employees are eligible for 90 days of maternity leave before and after giving birth. Male employees are also allowed to request paternity and child care leave in relation to their child’s birth and child rearing.
Elementary students are provided with the Dolbom (care) class service. The whole-day care program is to be expanded to all elementary school grades.
With an increasing number of senior citizens, welfare for the elderly has emerged as an important social issue. To address this, the country adopted a national long-term care insurance system for the elderly and a basic old-age pension system.
In 2018, the government launched a new program named State Responsibility for Dementia, which lowers the financial burden for patients with severe dementia and covers the cost of dementia diagnoses made via neurocognitive tests and imaging (MRI, CT, etc.) and so on, through national health insurance.
- Information Systems of Administrative Agencies
administrative agencies utilize information and communication technologies to carry out their administrative businesses more efficiently by providing information services relating to individual sectors such as customs clearance, patents, budget accounting, disaster management, immigration control, mail classification, public complaints, employment, transportation, civil affair documents, the registration of residence, etc.
- The Four Social Insurance Schemes
Relevant individuals, businesses, and the government share the burden of four major social insurance schemes: National Pension, National Health Insurance, Employment Insurance, and Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Scheme.
In 2001, the Ministry of Gender Equality was established, and its name was later changed to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. It also covers policies for teenagers and multicultural families. In 2013, Park Geun-hye became the first woman President in South Korea’s 65-year history.
According to the 2018 Gender Inequality Index (GII) released by the UNDP, South Korea ranked 10th among 189 nations, which shows the global recognition of South Korea as a leader in the realization of gender equality.
Copyright ©Photographer Lee Seong-u-Korea Tourism Organization