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Forged attempts to get unemployment allowance

Posted September. 21, 2023 08:14,   

Updated September. 21, 2023 08:14


Lee (age 38), who receives unemployment allowance (employment-seeking benefits), submitted a document to the local employment center in April this year, which confirmed that he had ‘applied for a position at ○○ Precision Company to handle simple tasks. As unemployment allowance is paid out to support job seekers in finding new jobs, they must prove that they had engaged in job-search-related activities. However, the signature on the document was written in Lee's handwriting. The person in charge at the local employment center became suspicious, and it was revealed that Lee had forged the document.

● Unemployed pretend to engage in job-seeking activities

According to materials that People Power Party lawmaker Lim Ija, a member of the National Assembly’s Environment and Labor Committee, received from the Ministry of Employment and Labor on Wednesday, there were 45,222 cases of warnings issued for false or job search activities from January to the end of August this year. Meanwhile, there were 1,687 cases in which job-seekers failed to receive allowance. Those caught in the act for the first time will not be able to receive the allowance (usually 28 days' worth of salary) of the relevant month. If it happens again for the second time, salary will be suspended entirely throughout the remaining period. Those who tried job-seeking out of formality will get a warning on the first time, but allowance will be paid out on the second time.

● Policies needed to prevent forged attempts and boost employment rates

Experts say that the current unemployment allowance system erodes job-seekers' motivation to seek employment, contrary to its purpose of helping the unemployed find jobs again. Unemployment allowance is set at a minimum of 80% of the minimum wage (approximately 1.85 million won per month) to protect low-income workers. This resulted in side-effects of people preferring to receive minimum wage rather than re-employment.

The number of repeat beneficiaries receiving unemployment allowance for three or more times over five years has increased every year, exceeding the 100,000 mark in 2021 and 2022. A person even received an unemployment allowance 24 times. The re-employment rate of unemployment benefit recipients continues to decline from 34.7% in 2013 to 28.0% last year.

Ae-Jin Ju jaj@donga.com