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Korean Minimum Wage Rises in 2017
Wee Hwang Jaeyeon  |  smt_wjy@sm.ac.kr
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승인 2016.09.04  14:57:13
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At the moment, minimum wage is 6,030 won per hour, but from 2017 it will increase by 7.3% to 6,470 won.  Some are arguing that this 7% is still too small to match the cost of living in Korea and that the percentage should equate to the economy situation.  The opposition party has already said that the minimum wage proposed for 2017 fall shorts of the rate of increase that was given for 2016 and that it will only lead to increased polarization and exclusive growth.  According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in 2014, with the standard at 100, the US stood at 76.97 and Canada at 89.61.  However, Korea was at 91.41, which is a high price index.  Moreover, in 2014, the minimum wage per an hour in the US was 8,200 won and Canada at 8,900 won.  In other words, given that the CPI of Korea is relatively high, the minimum wage in Korea is exceptionally low.  The Citizens Coalition of Economic Justice claimed that minimum wage should be increased to at least 10,000 won per hour in order to overcome business depression and offset the growth slowdown that the Korean economy has faced.  The Institution demanded an increase to minimum wage on July 12th at the Central Government Complex.  The ruling party, however, said increases to minimum wage should be done gradually because of inflation and the financial problems that small businesses would suffer if such a drastic increase were declared.  With both sides arguing about minimum wage, there seems like no compromise is likely in the near future between the ruling party and the opposition party.

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