Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in on Wednesday promised to help enhance the job security of middle-aged workers by making it harder for companies to carry out lay-offs.
The presidential candidate of the liberal Democratic Party said he would revise related laws, if he is elected, to prevent forced retirement. Such revisions, he said, would also work to make sure so-called "voluntary retirement" is actually voluntary.
Moon Jae-in, the presidential candidate of the liberal Democratic Party, announces his policy visions for the middle-aged population in a press conference held at party headquarters in Seoul on April 19, 2017. (Yonhap)
Moon noted many firms assign employees they wish to get rid of to meaningless or impossible jobs, forcing them to volunteer for retirement.
The presidential nominee said he will work to prohibit such assignments in the first place, and also require the management to acquire the approval of union leaders when laying off a certain number of workers or more under a voluntary retirement program.
Moon said he will also allow those aged 50 years or older to demand their employers cut their working hours, so they can prepare for life after retirement.
Those who experience a reduction in income following a change of his or her job will be provided up to 50 percent of the difference between wages from their old and new jobs for up to three years, he said, while speaking in a press conference at his party headquarters in Seoul.
"The most important issue for the new middle-aged class is to keep their jobs. Protecting their jobs is to protect their families," Moon said at the press conference.
He also promised additional benefits to self-employed entrepreneurs, noting that 55 percent of all self-employed people are currently in their 50s and 60s, and also suggesting many may have started running their own businesses after retiring from salaried jobs.
The presidential candidate said he will, if elected, provide up to 4 trillion won ($3.51 billion) in various financial benefits to people through special vouchers that can only be spent at small, non-franchise shops.
He also promised to lower college tuition by half.
"Many of our family heads spend sleepless nights, concerned about ways to pay for their children's tuition and the cost of weddings. We may not be able to solve all their problems, but the country must work to relieve at least some of the burden," he said.
Moon said he will inject an additional 500 billion won a year to halve college tuition from the current level. (Yonhap)