SEOUL, The percentage of workers' ailments being recognized as occupational diseases under the industrial disaster law has sharply increased under the government of President Moon Jae-in, officials said Monday.

According to the Korea Workers' Compensation and Welfare Service (KWCWS) affiliated with the labor ministry, 63 percent of ailments reported by domestic workers last year were recognized as occupational diseases.

The figure is the highest since the state-run agency launched the Occupational Disease Review Commission in 2008.

The percentage of workers' illnesses being recognized as occupational diseases used to remain in the range of 30 to 40 percent until 2016 but jumped to 52.9 percent in 2017.

Workers with certified occupational diseases are eligible for various compensation and insurance benefits.

Since its inauguration in May 2017, the liberal Moon administration has taken a series of pro-labor policies, including implementing a shorter workweek and minimum wage increases and changing non-regular workers into regular workers.

Officials and analysts say the incumbent government has overhauled labor policies and systems to recognize a wider range of diseases on the job as industrial disasters.

Indeed, the KWCWS introduced a new screening principle in which workers' diseases are recognized as industrial disasters if they meet certain criteria in terms of working period and exposure to risk factors and there is no counterevidence.

The government has also simplified the application procedures for industrial disasters, resulting in a steep rise in the number of applicants.

The number of industrial disaster applications filed with the KWCWS rose 21.9 percent from the previous year to 138,576 cases in 2018.

Under the new rule, workers can bypass employers to apply for industrial disaster benefits.

Source: Yonhap news Agency