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South Korea proposes increase in 2015 minimum wage

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said it is good news for Filipino workers in South Korea under the Employment Permit System the report that the South Korea Minimum Wage Council has passed a minimum wage increase of 370 Korean won, or 7.1 percent; or an hourly salary of 5,580 Korean won equivalent to US$5.5, from the 2014 minimum wage of 5,210 Korean won per hour (US$5.14).

“The minimum wage increase is set to apply from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015,” said Baldoz, citing the report of Seoul-based Labor Attaché Felicitas Bay, who said the minimum wage increase was passed by Chairman Park Jun-sung during the 7th Plenary Session of the Minimum Wage Council.

“The voting was participated in by 27 councilors, with nine councilors with public interest and nine worker councilors voting in favor. Only nine councilors abstained,” said Bay in her report.

According to the POLO official, the minimum wage increase was determined based on factors, such as average wage hikes by CBAs and income distribution improvement rates, which indicate the wage level of workers in the same category.

The increase, which translates to a monthly salary of 1,166,220 won (US$1,150.18) for people working 40 hours a week, or 209 hours a month, including paid weekly holidays, covers all workers as defined by the Labor Standards Act.

Foreign workers, including those working under the Employment Permit System are also covered by the wage increase.
It does not, however, cover those working in their family business and living in the same residence, domestic workers, seafarers governed by the Seafarers Act, and those whose ability to work is apparently low due to physical or mental disabilities, as long as their exclusion from coverage is permitted by their Minister of Employment and Labor.

Labor Attache Bay said the Council has yet to submit the minimum wage proposal to the Minister of Employment and Labor for public announcement and to give workers’ and employers’ representatives at least ten (10) days to raise their objection.

As of the first quarter of 2014, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration reported the deployment of 319 new hires, 12 of which are domestic helpers while 307 are skilled workers to South Korea.

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