Tuesday, February 13, 2007


OFWs to gain from new labor laws in S. Korea
02/10/2007 04:33 PM GMA.net news

South Korea has passed three new laws to promote the welfare of foreign workers, labor Secretary Arturo Brion said Saturday.

The country's high court has also ruled that foreign workers on a training program would get minimum wage and retirement pay equivalent to their Korean peers. Brion lauds the new Korean labor laws and jurisprudence, saying these "will certainly benefit overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), including those who entered South Korea as industrial trainees."

"In behalf of the Philippine government and the families of OFWs in South Korea, I express my deep appreciation for the Korean government's efforts to protect non-regular workers, many of whom are foreigners including OFWs," Brion said.

The Philippines sent 9,975 Filipino workers to South Korea in 2005, up from 8,392 in 2004. Another 8,329 were deployed in the first six months of 2006.

Philippine labor attaché Rodolfo Sabulao said the new laws will take effect on July 1, 2007.

The new Contractual and Part-time Worker Protection Act provides legal basis for hiring contract workers for two years or less. Workers hired for more than two years will be considered full-time workers with open-ended contracts.

Also, the new law prohibits employers from requiring part-time workers to work beyond contracted hours without consent. It says employers may not discriminate against contract workers who perform the same type of work as regular workers do.

Contract workers who are victims of discrimination (wage or benefit-wise) may file complaints with the Labor Relations Commission.

The new Dispatched Worker Protection Act obliges employers to treat fairly dispatched or temporary workers supplied by staffing agencies. It further provides that dispatched workers employed for more than two years should be hired directly.

Employers who violate the law could be fined with up to 30 million won or about P1.5 million.

South Korea's New Labor Relations Act establishes the Commission for Discrimination Correction as part of the Labor Relations Commission, which will handle discrimination complaints.

Sabulao reported that South Korea has integrated the Industrial Training Program into the Employment Permit System that entitles foreign workers to full labor rights.

Some 12,000 Filipino workers who entered the program will benefit from the new laws, he said.

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