South Korean Finance Minister Advocates for Extended Grace Period for Small Businesses Under Accident Act

SEJONG – Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok on Tuesday urged the National Assembly to approve a bill that would extend a two-year grace period for small businesses under the Serious Accidents Punishment Act.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the Act, enacted in 2022, focuses on penalizing employers who fail to prevent fatal workplace accidents. It is set to apply to all businesses later this week unless the National Assembly passes the revised bill. While emphasizing the importance of worker safety, Choi acknowledged the challenges small and medium-sized firms face due to their limited capabilities. The law currently stipulates that owners or CEOs of companies with 50 or more employees could face a minimum of one year in prison or fines up to 1 billion won (US$748,000) for fatal accidents caused by inadequate safety measures. The impending extension of this law to smaller businesses with less than 50 employees is due to start on Saturday, pending parliamentary approval of the delay. Choi appealed to the National Assembly to consider the difficult circumstances of smaller firms and to expedite the passage of the revision.

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