The Korea Herald


Minimum wage rules to continue excluding gig workers next year

By Lee Jaeeun

Published : June 14, 2024 - 14:48

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The Korean tripartite Minimum Wage Commission with representatives from businesses, labor and the general public has decided not to expand application of the minimum wage to include gig workers for the coming year, despite calls from labor unions to do so.

The 27-member Minimum Wage Commission, comprising nine representatives from each of the three sectors, convened its fourth full session on Thursday in Sejong to discuss the 2025 hourly minimum wage.

After hours of discussion, the committee decided that the minimum wage would not be introduced next year for "gig" or "platform" workers, which includes delivery and taxi drivers as well as webtoon creators, compensation for whom is based on performance bonuses and sales results.

“Since they are not legally recognized as workers, but as ‘freelancers’ and ‘self-employed,’ it is appropriate to further discuss it in the National Assembly or the presidential Economic, Social and Labor Council," the committee said.

Labor unions, including the Federation of Korean Trade Unions and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the nation's two largest umbrella organizations, have long advocated for the inclusion of platform workers and delivery drivers in the national minimum wage system.

In response, labor representatives once again called for the establishment of a minimum wage for workers in specific types of employment on Thursday. They emphasized that the proportion of these workers in the labor market has surged in recent years, highlighting that millions are denied fundamental legal protections, including fair wages, simply because they are not officially recognized as laborers under the Labor Standards Act.

On the other hand, management representatives maintained that the government and the courts should decide whether to apply the minimum wage to such workers, asserting that the commission lacks the authority to come to such a decision.