In September 2015, the Park administration introduced several amendments to Korean labour laws. The proposals have not yet been voted on and are being reviewed by sub-committees of the Korean National Assembly. They have been strongly opposed by the opposition party and labour unions. Some of the major proposed amendments include:

  • An amendment so that a fixed term worker is deemed a permanent worker after four years rather than two years. This would remove the incentive for employers to terminate a worker's fixed term contract before the two year point is reached.
  • An expansion to the circumstances where workers may be hired on a temporary basis through an agency, to cover those who are 55 years old and more, managers or professionals, or work in certain technology and manufacturing sector.
  • Currently working hours cannot exceed 40 hours a week and, where there is an agreement between the employer and employee for extended work, 52 hours a week. The proposal is to clarify that the 40 and 52 hour limits apply to Monday to Sunday and not Monday to Friday, but permit another 8 special extended hours at weekends.
  • "Ordinary wage" (which is used as the basis for calculating overtime pay or payment in lieu of notice or annual leave) is to be defined as all wages paid to employees regularly and across the board, and the government will be given the power to exclude non-fixed wages such as incentives from the scope of ordinary wage by Presidential Decree.
  • The Ministry of Employment and Labour also announced guidelines on 22 January 2016 making it easier for companies to dismiss poor performers (allowing employers to specify lack of performance as one of the justifiable causes for dismissal in their rules of employment, so that it is easier to dismiss without imposing any disciplinary measures) and revise employment rules (no longer requiring the consent of a majority of workers to an unfavourable amendment if the change is accepted as reasonable/rational in accordance with social norms). The guidelines are not legally binding but will be used by Ministry officials to supervise labour and management relations.