South Korea doles out COVID-19 subsidies to ‘essential workers’
Some 90,000 home care workers and after-school tutors are set to receive 500,000 won (US$457) from the government of South Korea in the first half of next year.
The payout is part of the government’s plan to support ‘essential workers’ during the pandemic, said Labour Minister Lee Jae-kap at a virtual briefing from Sejong city. The funds will be drawn from donations made by the Korea Federation of Banks, the Korean Financial Industry Union and other organisations.
Workers who work in healthcare, delivery services, and sanitation are also considered part of the essential workforce.
Despite being at a high risk of infection, home care workers only earn an average of 1-1.4 million won (US$914 – US$1280) per month, said the ministry.
Due to a rise in virtual classes and cancelled after-school classes, after-school tutors have also suffered financially, it added. Earlier this month, the government amended a bill that would provide greater employment protection for its gig economy workers.
The country has seen demand for delivery services sky rocket amid the pandemic, which has caused overwork and death among its delivery service workers.