South Korea expands safety net for platform workers

The government plans to let delivery workers and designated drivers benefit from the employment insurance system from next year.
By: | September 28, 2021

This is part of the government’s efforts to expand the employment insurance system to include more workers as the pandemic has negatively affected the labour market. 

Vice first finance minister Lee Eog-weon said the scheme will allow platform workers such as delivery workers and designated drivers to subscribe to the employment insurance system starting January 2022. Such a move will allow them to receive unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs. 

Since December last year, the government has allowed artists and 12 special types of workers, including insurance agents, to enroll in the employment insurance scheme to strengthen the social safety net in the country. 

The employment insurance programme was launched in 1995 as the main employment safety net for regular workers. All employers, who hire at least one worker, are required to enroll in the employment insurance starting from 1998. 

READ: South Korea’s August unemployment rate hits record low

However, non-regular contract workers, freelancers, the self-employed and other vulnerable workers are not obliged to subscribe to employment insurance as they are not regarded as workers under the Labor Standards Act, according to Yonhap.