S. Korea to tame unemployment with new long-term plan

18:36, October 12, 2010      

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South Korea on Tuesday unveiled a long-term plan to tackle unemployment.

The Cabinet approved the plan, officially titled "National Employment Strategy 2020 for the Harmony of Growth, Employment and Welfare," in a meeting presided over by President Lee Myung-bak, endorsing the strategy aimed at raising the country's employment rate from the current 62.9 percent to 70 percent by 2020.

Under the blueprint, laws will be modified to allow new local companies to hire temporary workers for more than two years, which is currently banned.

Certain periods when flexible working hours can be applied will be expanded from the current three months to a year, while a new system of paying back overtime work with day-offs will also be introduced.

Labor unions here criticized the decision for introducing excessive labor flexibility in the job market. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, a left-leaning umbrella union with some 700,000 members, called the government plan "bad job creation ".

Data show South Korea's job market has slowly improved this year as Asia's fourth largest economy recovers from the global downturn. But the speed of job growth does not match that of general economic recovery, according to the government.

Source: Xinhua


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