[Review]
We are concerned about part time labor: - Women are composed of 73% of part time labor.

 

Last May 24, the Statistics Korea issued 'Additional Research Outcomes by Labor Type regarding Economically Active Population Survey.' The outcomes are very shocking. While male irregular workers decreased by 60,000 persons, the number of women irregular workers increased by 98,000 persons. In particular, male part-time workers amongst irregular workers rose by 3.3%, but women part-time workers increased by 14.4%. This means women workers totalled 1,230,000 out of 1,700,000 part-time workers.

 

Let's look at the deep sides of part-time workers through statistics. Although 50.6% of irregular workers said that they chose their jobs for voluntary reasons, the report shows only 45.6% willingly accepted part-time jobs. Further, average tenure of office is much shorter than other workers: part-time workers worked for one year and 4 months on average, compared to 6 years and 9 months as average tenure of office for regular workers, and 2 years and 5 months for irregular workers. In terms of wages, they were paid 621,000 won, which means they are the lowest wage group. In addition, they got the poorest labor-related welfare benefits. Only 11.2% received severance pays, 14.9% bonuses, 6.6% overtime pays, and 6.3% paid leaves. Moreover, social insurance coverages show their crucial situations: only 13.2% joined national pension systems, 15.4% health insurance, 15.9% employment insurance. Important is that 73% of part-time workers having such poor working conditions are women.

 

Last year, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women recommended that the Korean government should decrease the ratio of irregular women workers, pointing out the serious situation of Korean women workers. Nevertheless, the number of irregular women workers has been increasing. Especially, a very high percentage of women workers aged more than 40 are irregular workers. That is because women experiencing career discontinuation due to their child-birth and childcare usually re-enter the labor market, as irregular workers. In Korea, men were usually bread-winner and women were housewives. Now, the model is not effective any more.

 

The government insists that the flextime system is an alternative for women to work as well as decrease their child-caring burdens. However, the statistics show part-time jobs are mostly low-paying jobs. Do you, the government think only working is very important? Are part-time jobs only good alternatives for women, which has working conditions including the monthly wage of 621,000 won for one year and 4 month? Shouldn't you, the government play an central role in making women's lives comfortable?

 

 

Jeong Moon Ja
chairperson
Korean Women Workers Association
Dated on May 29, 2012

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