Minimum Wage Except for Foreign Migrant Domestic Workers
Minimum Wage Except for Foreign Migrant Domestic Workers
  • Lee Han Jiwon
  • 승인 2023.06.02 09:51
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Minimum Wage Except for Foreign Migrant Domestic Workers1)

On March 21, an amendment was proposed to the Act on the Improvement of Employment of Domestic Workers. The amendment could help support families who have difficulty affording childcare by bringing low-wage foreign domestic workers to Korea. Policymakers also expect that migrant workers will work in the same living areas as Koreans and they would be provided an opportunity to end the negative preconceptions about them through this amendment. This adds a proviso clause to Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Act on the Improvement of Employment of Domestic Workers. According to the added proviso, foreign domestic workers are classified as domestic workers who are not subject to the Minimum Wage Act. Therefore, if this revision to the act is passed, foreign workers under the Act on the Employment of Foreign Workers will not be guaranteed the minimum wage when they work as domestic workers. This revision, which excludes migrant domestic workers from the minimum wage law, is criticized by various women's and migrant workers' organizations. This is because the added proviso clause not only disparages the value of domestic labor itself but also discriminates against migrant workers. If the amendment, which allows discriminatory treatment of migrant workers, is passed, it is difficult to guarantee their living standard as workers in Korea and the risk of them being socially disadvantaged will increase.
In response, on April 18, the Committee to Improve the Treatment of Migrant Women Workers in Public Institutions held a press interview and urged the revision to be withdrawn. They are concerned that measures to exclude migrant female workers from the minimum wage will lead to the exploitation of migrant workers' labor. In addition, this is an inappropriate means to protect migrant female workers who are already likely to face risks such as living difficulties. Philippine migrant female worker Solita, said in the interview, "Migrant female workers are experiencing unequal treatment and abuse, adding to the burden. I hope that it will be understood that we must receive a fair minimum wage in order to live a human life." She emphasizes the social and economic difficulties faced by migrant female workers in Korean society, and that the application of the minimum wage law is essential for them to be guaranteed the right to live. Also, this implies the introduction of foreign domestic workers, designed to balance work and family life, will truly succeed when potential social risks are eliminated and they are guaranteed a salary worthy of their labor value. Regarding domestic labor, the government's active countermeasures seem to be needed to eliminate discrimination against migrant women and move toward providing more equal opportunities.


1) Park Sang-hyeok, "Philippine Female Worker Criticizes Revision of Domestic Worker Law, "We Also Have the Same Dream"", The Women's News, April 18, 2023

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