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Public, Private Workers Donating Part of Salaries to Charity

Public, Private Workers Donating Part of Salaries to Charity

Posted February. 27, 2009 08:58,   


A campaign to revive the ailing economy and create jobs is spreading to both the public and private sectors.

In a first for a central government agency, the Public Administration and Security Ministry yesterday said it will donate one to five percent of the salaries of mid- and high-level officials to the underprivileged.

The ministry said around 1,000 of its 3,200 staff volunteered to make the donation.

High-ranking ministry officials will donate three to five percent of their annual salaries and directors-general two to four percent. Department directors will chip in one to three percent and lower-level officials one to two percent.

The combined amount of donations will reach 56 million won (36,902 U.S. dollars) per month and go to help destitute children and senior citizens.

Other agencies are considering following suit, including the Office of the Prime Minister; the ministries of unification, foreign affairs and trade, strategy and finance, and the environment; the Board of Audit and Inspection; and the Korea Fair Trade Commission.

An official at one ministry said, “Most other government agencies will make similar moves because the decision made by the Public Administration and Security Ministry, which is in charge of the general management of government agencies, will serve as a virtual guideline.”

Last week, some 280 politically appointed officials, including ministers and vice ministers, decided to donate 10 percent of their annual salaries to the underprivileged over the next 12 months.

The municipal governments of Seoul, Ulsan and Busan will donate part of their salaries. Mid- or high-level officials of the Seoul Metropolitan Government will donate one to five percent of their monthly salaries to help create 1,000 jobs. Lower-ranking officials will make donations through “piggybanks of hope” placed in their offices.

In Ulsan, the union of city workers from mayor to the lowest-ranking officials will donate three to 20 percent of their salaries. In Busan, mid- and high-level officials will donate one to three percent.

In the private sector, the state-run tobacco giant KT&G will raise 20 billion won (13.2 million dollars) for charity by freezing salaries and participate in the job-sharing program.

The SK Group will also cut salaries for its executives to help smaller companies hire some 1,800 college graduates as interns.

The donation drive has drawn complaints, however.

A mid-ranking official at a central government agency said, “It is too much to freeze our salaries and virtually force us to donate part of our pay. Such a top-down decision has many problems.”

The union of the South Gyeongsang provincial government urged authorities to stop forcing public servants to make sacrifices.

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