SEOUL– South Korea’s small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) leaders called on the government Tuesday to provide more support in the face of an increased minimum wage and reduced working hours that will impact their businesses.

In a meeting with Labor Minister Kim Young-joo, Park Sung-taek, chairman of the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business (KBIZ), said its member companies will cooperate with the government’s efforts to raise the minimum wage and reduce working hours, but stressed Seoul has to provide financial or other types of support to help the firms “make a soft landing.”

The minimum wage is to be raised to 10,000 won (US$8.80) within President Moon Jae-in’s five year term in office from the current 6,470 won. The National Assembly is pushing for a bill to shorten the working hours per week to 52 from 68.

Park asked lawmakers to give serious consideration on the issue of shortening weekly working hours because it could have a direct impact on the productivity of local manufacturers.

SMEs make up 99 percent of all South Korean companies and hire 88 percent of its workers, according to the KBIZ Web page.




Source: Yonhap News Agency