1. Revised Maximum Time-off Limit

In a notice issued by the Ministry of Employment and Labor on June 25, 2013, major provisions of the revised maximum time-off limit have been revised as follows: ① in case of a workplace with less than 100 union members, maximum time-off limit increased to 2,000 hours per annum (this is an increase from the prior maximum time-off limit applicable for less than 50 union members of 1,000 per annum, and is equivalent to maintaining one full-time employee); ② in case of the workplace with more than 1,000 union members with multiple workplaces, the maximum time-off limit may be increased by an extra 10% to 30%  depending on the number of communities in which a workplace is established (a 10% increase will be given for workplaces that are established in two to five wide-area autonomous communities, 20% for those established in six to nine communities and 30% for those established in more than ten communities, provided that in each case, more than 5% of the union members work in each workplace); and ③ a supplementary provision has been added that allows redetermination of the maximum time-off limit in certain circumstances. This announcement shall be applied immediately where there is no effective collective bargaining agreement as of July 1, 2013, or upon the effective date of termination if there is any effective collective bargaining agreement as of July 1, 2013.

  1. Decision of Minimum Wage for 2014

The Minimum Wage Commission (Chairman Park Jun-seong) convened the 7th Council for All Members between July 4 and July 5, 2013, to raise the minimum wage to KRW 5,210 per hour (a 7.2% raise), and the Ministry of Employment and Labor has issued notice of such on July 10, 2013. The minimum wage decided by the Council will be effective for a year from January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2014, if confirmed by August 5, 2013, following an objection process.

An employer is required to pay a wage that is equal to or exceeds the minimum wage, and violators may be punished with imprisonment of not more than three years or a fine of not more than KRW 20 million.  An employer must also ensure that ① wages, other than the wage regularly being paid more than once a month, which are determined by the Minister of Employment and Labor; ② wages, other than the wage paid for prescribed working hours or prescribed working days under Article 2(1)(7) of the Labor Standard Act, which are determined by the Minister of Employment and Labor; and ③ others recognized as inappropriate to be included in the minimum wage as determined by the Minister of Employment and Labor shall be excluded from calculation of the minimum wage, and the wage paid excluding the above amounts must exceed the minimum wage. In addition, employers must keep in mind that Article 6(7) of the Minimum Wage Act provides that if a subcontractor, in the course of performing a subcontract, pays its workers a wage below the minimum wage due to a cause attributable to the contractor, the subcontractor and the contractor shall be jointly liable for the violation of the Minimum Wage Act.