The Korean government has passed three new labor laws that would give protection to foreign workers against abuses and exploitation of the employer.
The three new laws are the Contractual and Part-time Worker Protection Act, Dispatched Worker Protection Act and the New Labor Relations Act, which would take effect on July 1.
The Contractual and Part-time Worker Protection Act grants the employers to hire contract workers for two years or less. Contractual workers who have been employed for more than years can be considered as full-time workers with open-ended contracts.
This also prohibits the employer in requiring the worker to work beyond the contracted working hours without their consent. It also disallows the employer to discriminate contract workers who are engaged in the same type of work as regular workers do.
Contract workers who are victims of discrimination, either wages or benefits, may file complaints with the Labor Relations Commission.
The Dispatch Worker Protection Act emphasizes the employers’ obligation to give fair treatment with dispatched or temporary workers supplied by staffing agencies. Furthermore, dispatched workers who are employed for more than two years should be hired directly.
Employers who will be caught violating the law should be fined with up to 30 million won or about P1.5 million.
The New Labor Relations Act establishes the Commission for Discrimination Correction as part of the Labor Relations Commission assigned to handle workers complaint of discrimination.
The Supreme Court of South Korea also ruled recently that foreign workers who are on a training program are entitled to minimum wages and retirement pay equivalent to their Korean peers.