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[Editorial] Employment Insurance Fees Carelessly Extorted from Paychecks

[Editorial] Employment Insurance Fees Carelessly Extorted from Paychecks

Posted June. 10, 2005 06:53,   


The Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) exposed that the Labor Ministry collected a lot of employment insurance fees and used them inappropriately and extravagantly. Employment insurance is a fund which both workers and employers set aside to provide unemployment insurance and to assist the employment of the unemployed. It is the government`s fundamental job to fix the insurance fee by taking into account not only the unemployment rate but also economic status and expenditures.

The Labor Ministry, however, applied the same high insurance fee of 1999, when the unemployment rate was 6.3 percent right after the foreign exchange crisis, even after it fell to half that. The sum of money the ministry collected for six years has amounted to 8.4485 trillion won as of the end of last year. More than one trillion won was left over each year after unemployment rates fell to somewhere in the three percent range since 2001. Due to the government`s laziness and excessive collection, precious money was extorted from the paychecks of workers and corporate finances. If the people were not charged these excessive fees, it could have been conducive to the economy as workers` income, consumption, and corporate investment capacities would have been enlarged.

We are struck dumb all the more because 24 percent of the should-be recipients could not gain the necessary assistance due to administrational omissions, even though almost four times the annual expenditure had been accumulated. For whom is this employment insurance for? Meanwhile, quite a few patients of industrial accidents have abused the loophole that there is no limit to the recuperation period and have unreasonably received industrial accident insurance money for a long time. And they are unchecked. It is said that the majority of them are "sham patients" receiving up to 70 percent of their average wage, so does it come as any surprise that many of them are not that eager to return to work?

The government emphasizes social security and welfare policies whenever it has a chance to do so. Nevertheless, no matter how it manages to come up with a system and augment public officials, how can it achieve a welfare state if it does not properly manage the system and operates it like a handout? No matter how much it increases its expenditures for social security, it would be difficult to resolve the issue of social bipolarization if those who should be helped do not receive the benefits of the social safety net and return to workplace.

The social safety net does not exist to fatten government organizations or pay the salaries of public officials in charge of the welfare system. It is a double crime to impose unnecessary burdens on workers and companies, who work diligently and never fail to pay insurance fees, and not assist the socially weak. Who would trust such a government which does not perform surgery on such shortcomings but only cries out for reforms?