Jeong, a 35-year-old worker who is earning a yearly wage of 22 million won (18,850 U.S. dollars) from a small company, has been also working part time at a convenience store since September. As his company started 52-hour workweek (limiting maximum work hours to 52 hours) on a trial basis, before the system will take effect in earnest for companies with less than 300 employees next year, he saw his overtime pay significantly decline. Jeong, a father of two daughters, earns an extra 700,000 won (600 dollars) per month by working seven hours during weekends and four hours from 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. “I have no choice but to work as part-timer to be able to support my family, because my salary from my (primary) work has decreased,” Jeong said.
Like Jeong, the number of workers who are subscribing to the national health insurance through two or more employers has increased from August 2015 to August this year. Rep. Choi Do-ja, a Bareun Mirae Party lawmaker and member of the parliamentary Health & Welfare Committee, received the current situation of workers subscribing to the national health insurance system from the National Health Insurance Service on Sunday. According to the report, the number of workers who are subscribing to the national health insurance program through two or more employers increased from 153,501 in August 2015 to 255,355 in 2019.
According to experts, those who are registered with the national health insurance program through two or more employers are mostly those working for small- and medium-sized enterprises or those who are hired by self-employed people. It means that many of those people are workers who are earning minimum wage or working for firms that are directly affected by the 52-hour workweek system. Most conglomerates and larger companies ban employees from having a second job for profit-making through employee contracts or company regulations.
Experts say that this phenomenon has resulted from multiple factors including rapid hikes in the minimum wage, 52-hour workweek, and economic slump. “Those people are filling their income shortfalls by taking additional jobs during their leftover hours, as their jobs shifted from full time to part time while the economy remains in a slump, on top of the hikes in the minimum wage,” said Shin Se-don, emeritus professor of economics at Sookmyung Women’s University. “Notably, as the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector wherein mostly people in their 30s and 40s are employed have decreased, a growing number of people are having two jobs.”
Joo-Young Jeon firstname.lastname@example.org