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Temporary Work: Questions and Answers

Posted March. 01, 2006 05:45,   


Q: Mr. Kim joined a company as a temporary worker and has worked there as a non-regular worker for a certain period of time. Can he become a regular worker right away? What are the rights of a non-regular worker who works for a short period of time (or a contract worker)?

A: Mr. Kim (33) works for a big company as a computer programmer. He entered the company as a temporary worker in 1999 and has worked there for six years. He is a contract worker as he has to renew a contract with the company every year in February.

Can he become a regular worker if the non-regular worker law takes effect in January, 2007? The answer is no.

According to the new law, a contract worker who has worked at a company for more than two years will be considered to have made a contract for an indefinite period of time. But this applies to the one who renews his or her contract after January 2007 or makes a new contract. That means that the period for which one has worked before January 2007 will not be included in the “two-year working hour,” which is stipulated by the new law.

Therefore, Kim will be considered to have made an employment contract for an indefinite period of time only after he renews his contract in February 2007 and works until after February 2009. That means that he could become a regular worker only after February 2009.

Q: Can a dispatched worker become a regular worker right after the law takes effect regardless of the time when he or she is dispatched? Will an employer who violates it get punished?

A: The answer is yes.

Ms. Park (27) who works as a secretary for “D” construction company, belongs to a worker leasing agency and has started to work at the construction company starting February 2005 with a two-year contract. She will surpass a two-year dispatch working period which is stipulated in the new law in February 2007. Unlike contract labor, dispatched workers’ working periods before 2007 will be included in the two-year working period. Accordingly, “D” construction company must employ her if Park continues to work after February 2007. Otherwise, the company will be imposed a correctional fine of under 30 million won.

Q: How about service laborers, special workers and workers paid based on an annual salary?

A: Mr. Choi (53), who works as a cleaner at a big company, belongs to a service agency. Even if the new law comes into force, he cannot become a regular worker. That is because the new law does not apply to contract laborers and special workers in terms of switching to a regular worker. The same goes for special workers such as caddies and teachers who visit students’ houses with study materials.

Dispatched workers and laborers belonging to a service agency are in a similar situation in that they don’t get paid from the company they work for. But they are different in that dispatched workers receive instructions from the company they work for and service laborers don’t.

This law doesn’t have effect on workers paid based on an annual salary. They make contracts in one-year terms. That is related to annual salary, not to the terms of the contract, however. So, if they make an annual-salary contract, they are considered to be a regular worker.

Of course, a temporary worker who gets paid based on an annual salary and renews his or her contract every year will benefit from the law as a contract worker.

Q: What will happen to part-time workers?

There are no provisions about switching a part-timer who works less than 40 hours a week, such as those who work at convenience stores, to a regular worker. But those who are part-timers and have contracts with one-year terms can benefit as contract workers.

Meanwhile, if the new law is passed in a plenary meeting of an extra session of the National Assembly in early March, the establishment with more than 300 employees will be applied by it starting January 2007, and the establishment with more than 100 and less than 300 will be applied starting January 2008, those with less than 100 will be applied starting from January 2009 step by step. Those with less than five employees will not be applied.

Eun-Woo Lee libra@donga.com