To those of us who are university students, the word ‘part time job’ is part of being a university student. Although there are many benefits for us to enjoy when we are working a part-time job, minimum wages and pay raise is receiving more attention from our society.
Minimum wage is the wage that the government sets as a minimum standard for wages. It forces the employer to pay an employee a wage that allows a worker to live minimally. This minimum wage system is implemented by Article 32 of the Constitution. The minimum wage system is better than it was in the past. According to the Korea Labor and Social Research Institute, in March of last year 13.7% of all workers were paid below the minimum wage. President Moon Jae-in said he will root out the workplaces which employs those workers who are being underpaid. Because the minimum wage is becoming a more and more popular issue the government has responded by committing an increase to the minimum wage up to 10,000 won by 2020, and it plans on cracking down on the vicious employers who violate the minimum wage law. There are sharp pros and cons between workers and employers on this issue. Workers say that the minimum wage is a standard practice of all businesses around the world and that the increase of a minimum wage increases the salary for consumers, which leads to a boost in ability to spend. They claim that this would be ‘win-win’ for both business and workers. In addition, they argue that one of the causes of the recent increase in household debt is because the current minimum wage is not realistically enough to live on. They demand an increase to the minimum wage as a countermeasure to help reduce the serious household debt problem and as a way to decrease the income polarization. Those in opposition argue that raising the minimum wage to 10,000 won will hurt small and medium sized businesses. In addition, they argue that an increase of the minimum wage to 10,000 won without proper measures will reduce the employment and threaten the survival of small business owners and self-employed people. Despite the circumstances of the businesses it seems inevitable that the minimum wage will be increased similar to other countries. However, we cannot judge the situation of businesses by only the labor cost. The real reasons for the difficulties of the self-employed and small businesses are the tyrannical practices of large companies and excessive rent prices by landlords. It is urgent to raise the minimum wage and find a way to stop the crushing dominance of corporations and franchises.
Under the Labor Standards Act, a weekly allowance should be paid for workers during holiday if they regularly work a prescribed number of working days. According to Article 55 of the Labor Standards Act, the law stipulates that employers must give employees at least one paid holiday per week. According to a recent survey conducted by Albacheonguk, the awareness of the weekly allowance was relatively high. In response to the question, "Have you ever heard of a weekly allowance," 79% of respondents said that they had. However, only 37.9% of the respondents answered that they had actually received a weekly allowance. In other words, more than half of the part-time workers who know the work allowance are not receiving their regular work allowance during holidays from their workplace. In order to receive such a holiday allowance, you have to work at least 15 hours a week. In order to receive a work allowance from businesses that have not paid due work allowances evidence is needed such as a commuting records, a traffic card statement, statements by co-workers, and CCTV commuting videos.
The minimum wage and the holiday allowance are rights we should all enjoy as workers. It not an option but a duty to require our rights to be respected by companies that employ us.