South Korean government urged to enact nationwide sickness programme

Labour activists are calling for more to be done for workers who experience adverse symptoms after receiving their COVID-19 vaccination shots.
By: | April 15, 2021

Labour activists in South Korea are urging the government to implement a nationwide sickness benefit programme amid criticism that its recently introduced vaccinations leave policy could leave out some workers. 

Starting April, those experiencing adverse symptoms after receiving their COVID-19 vaccination shots are able to take one day off without a doctor’s note, according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters.

Businesses are “advised” to grant sick leave to their staff who are receiving their shots, reports The Korea Herald.

However, labour groups say that the voluntary measure could be loosely followed by companies short on staff, and are calling on the government to make such leave mandatory to ensure a smooth progress for vaccinations. 

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The government has since acknowledged that its vaccinations leave scheme does not apply uniformly for all employees across all sectors, and would largely leave out non-full time employees such as freelancers, gig workers and contract workers like delivery workers, insurance agents and caregivers, which amount to some 800,000 people. 

Currently, the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs is planning the details for a trial-run of the sickness benefit programme, slated for 2022.