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`Monthly Salary Has Decreased…`

Posted August. 15, 2001 08:37,   


Lee Eun-Young (31), a working housewife, is afraid of keeping a record of household expenses. While monthly salary has increased, it seems smaller than before after having to pay for `this and that`.

Ms. Lee compared her husband`s salary in July, which was 1.73 million won, with that of last year. Her husband`s monthly salary increased by 7 percent last year. Her husband is working at a small-to-medium-size company. Along with the increase of the monthly salary, deduction of the national pension, the income tax of Grade A and the health insurance has increased. After taking these fees out, the salary increased only by 3.7 percent. The consumer price rose by 5 percent during the same period. Considering the increase of the consumer price, this indicates that the substantial monthly salary has rather decreased. As Ms. Lee looks at the record of household expenses, various public charges and insurance premium have increased a lot in comparison with last year.

The financial burden has increased since the health insurance premium of the work place has increased by 15 percent in January, and the parents with their own income have to pay the health insurance premium separately as of July. 3 people in one family have to pay the health insurance individually. Especially, various public charges, such as electricity, water, subway train, and bus fee, have jumped. It has been reported that taxi charge will rise soon. People are worried if other consumer prices would rise as well.

- Increasing health insurance premium, rising consumer price: The biggest factor that decreases the substantial wage is the rise of the consumer price.

While the consumer price in the last July increased only by 2.9 percent compared with that of 1999, it has risen by 5 percent this year. Yim Joo-Whan, chief of the Consumer Price Analysis at the Bank of Korea, said that ``as the price of agricultural and fishery products and the public charges have increased, the difference of the consumer price, which housewives feel, must be bigger than the actual rise of the consumer price.``

As drought and flood have continued, price of the agricultural and fishery products for groceries has increased a lot. According to the Bank of Korea, the price of pumpkin has increased by 73.9 percent in July, and the price of carrot (62.3 percent), lettuce (47 percent), and beef (10.7 percent) has also increased a lot.

As it has been pointed out many times this year, public charges, such as electricity, have increased a lot. For example, Mr. J (41, Mok-dong, Seoul) paid 59,140 won for 360 kWh in last June, whereas he had to pay 63,600 won, 4000 won more, for the similar electricity usage of 362 kWh in June this year. This is much more than 4.3 percent of the electricity rise announced by the Bank of Korea during the same period.

For those working people whose incomes are `transparent`, various deductions are burdensome. In the case of the health insurance of the work place, it rose as it was integrated in last July, and it increased by 15 percent in January this year. The income tax of Grade A and the residence tax are factors for the workers to sense the relative deprivation compared with the self-employed people.

- Rate of increase in the substantial income has slowed down: The rate of increase in the substantial income of the workers has been lowered due to the rise of the consumer price and the economic stagnation.

According to the Korea Labor Institute`s analysis of the `monthly labor statistics` by the Ministry of Labor, the rate of increase in the substantial income of the workers has considerably slowed down. Although the average wage of the workers at the work place, in which more than 5 people work, has increased by 6.5 percent between January and May, the growth rate of the substantial income, considering the rise of the consumer price, has increased only by 1.7 percent. It fell by 7.6 percent compared with 9 percent during the same period of last year. Moreover, it was reported that the substantial income during February, April, and May has decreased compared with the last year.

A Korea Labor Institute`s official said, ``Due to the rising consumer price and the economic deterioration, special allowances for the workers are decreasing. The substantial income tends to decrease during the letter half of the year.``

Lee Na-Yeon larosa@donga.com