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Revision bill to Subcontracting Act clears parliament

Posted May. 02, 2013 07:12,   


A revision bill to the Subcontracting Act, which calls for toughening punitive damage by targeting conglomerates making excessive cut in price of supplies from subcontractors, has been approved by the National Assembly.

A revision bill to the “Act on prevention of discrimination for age in employment and promotion of senior citizens’ employment,” extending the retirement age of workers at public and private sector employers to 60 from 2016, has also cleared the National Assembly. However, a revision bill to the “Act on Harmful Chemical Substances Management (Harmful Substance Act),” which is designed to levy fines of 10 percent for sales of companies emitting harmful substances, has been suspended at the parliamentary Legislation and Judiciary Committee due to controversy over excessiveness of punishment.

At the plenary session held on Tuesday, the National Assembly put to a vote the revision bill to the Subcontracting Act, which is considered a key economic democratization act, and passed the bill in a vote of 171 for it, 24 against it, and 30 abstaining, among the 225 lawmakers present. The bill calls for imposing punitive damage of up to three times on conglomerates for unjust cut in unit supply price for subcontracted supplies, unfair cancellation of orders, and unfair return of supplied products to subcontractors, in addition to conventional misuse of technology. Originally, setting punitive damage at up to 10 times was considered, but the rate of punitive damage has been lowered due to concern that “it could pose excessive burden on companies.” Rep. Kim Yong-tae of the ruling Saenuri Party expressed objection to the measure in his speech at the plenary session, saying, “Lawsuits can be filed en masse due to this act, and Korea could become a haven of rampant lawsuits.”

The revision bill to the Retirement Act was passed the Legislation and Judiciary Committee and the plenary session after debate over methods of how to reshuffle the salary system. The ruling and opposition parties showed differing views on detailed implementation methods, but they agreed that the government provide employment assistance subsidies to companies that introduce salary system reform (peak salary system) in return for extension of retirement age, and management consulting to firms that cannot afford to reshuffle their pay system.

The Legislation and Judiciary Committee of the parliament also passed a revision bill to the “Capital Market and Financial Investment Act,” which calls for disclosure of annual salaries of registered board members of companies, who are paid 500 million won (453,000 U.S. dollars) or more. It requires that salary of registered members of listed companies be disclosed individually, instead of the average of all registered board members.