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Labor ministry proposes 16.3% rise in budget to bolster labor safety net amid pandemic

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

The government has earmarked nearly 35.5 trillion won ($29.9 billion) in its 2021 budget for the Ministry of Employment and Labor in a bid to bolster the country's employment safety net for all, the ministry said Tuesday, as the country strives to survive the coronavirus crisis.

The proposed budget for the ministry marks an increase of 16.3 percent from this year. On Tuesday, the Cabinet approved the government's 2021 budget proposal of 555.8 trillion won, including the budget for the labor ministry, and plans to submit it to the National Assembly for approval.

According to the ministry's budget plan, a majority of some 20 trillion won out of the total sum of 35.5 trillion won will be poured into efforts to enforce the country's employment safety net, including the national employment insurance system and a new scheme to financially support vulnerable job seekers.

The ministry has earmarked more than 828 billion won for the assistance program for vulnerable job seekers, set to go into operation in January.

Under the scheme, the government will hand out 500,000 won per month to job seekers who are young or in low income brackets for up to six months to help them find jobs.

Some 400,000 vulnerable job seekers are expected to benefit from the program next year alone, according to the ministry.

Nearly 11.3 trillion won has been set aside for the national employment insurance system, aiming to expand unemployment allowances to all kinds of occupations including artists and to a broader scope of employment forms. About 1.64 million people are entitled to the job-seeking benefits under the bolstered system, the ministry said.

The ministry has also earmarked 1.18 trillion won to provide incentives for employers designed to help them turn away from layoffs and retain their employees in the aftermath of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Also included in the 2021 budget for the labor ministry is 467.6 billion won intended for some 50,000 young people who are looking for a job in sectors related to digital technologies, the ministry added.

South Korea has tightened social distancing rules since mid-August as the nation reported triple-digit rises of daily new infections for some 20 consecutive days. (Yonhap)
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