Reaching Out for Their Injuries
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Reaching Out for Their Injuries
  • Kim Park Yeonhoo
  • 승인 2024.04.01 10:00
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PHOTO FROM THE KYUNGHYANG SHINMUN

 

Reaching Out for Their Injuries1)

Workers' compensation insurance, which helps workers who are injured in their workplace, is included in the four main types of insurance. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, an industrial accident refers to a worker being killed or injured because of a work-related incident. Workers' compensation insurance covers all workers in the workplace. However, currently, workers' compensation is paid out mostly for large accidents or major disasters, while some other cases are neglected despite actually being included in the scope of workers' compensation. According to the Analysis of Industrial Accidents in 2021 provided by the Ministry of Employment and Labor in 2022, the proportion of female workers who were approved for workers' compensation in 2021 was 22.75 percent, of which 14.54 percent were aged 18-34. This shows that while men overwhelmingly receive workers' compensation at 77.25 percent, most young women do not receive it. A 30-year-old woman working as a stylist said, "The company doesn't give workers' compensation and we don't know much about it, so we don't report incidents and end up leaving the company." This shows that many young women who work as temporary workers and freelancers are not even aware that they are entitled to workers' compensation due to inadequate notice from their employers. In addition, there is a perception that industries such as construction sites and heavy industry have severe industrial accidents, but the industries of service, care, and arts and culture, where many women are employed, are not that serious. As a result, young women are unable to get workers' compensation due to gender and age-based labor stereotypes.
In response, Solidarity for Workers' Health launched the Young Women's Industrial Accident Recovery Support Project in 2022, focusing on the working environment of young women who are often excluded from the workforce. Any young woman who needs financial support due to health problems while working can apply if they meet the specified time and income requirements. Applicants can receive one million won to support their recovery. According to the organization, the young women who receive the compensation use it according to their own circumstances: mainly for medical treatment, but also for living expenses during unpaid leave if they need it, or for health care such as exercise and nutrition. It shows that Solidarity for Workers' Health does not restrict the distribution of funds as they aim to help women recover from their injuries. As a result of the effectiveness of this program, there were 400 applicants in 2022 and 200 in 2023. However, the number of recipients was limited to 50 in 2022 and 60 in 2023 due to budget limitations. This means that not all young women in need of workers' compensation can receive support, suggesting a long-term need for workers' compensation support that considers the needs of young women.

 

1) Park Chae-yeon, "Will This Fit the Industrial Accident"…Why Do Young Women Hesitate", The Kyunghyang Shinmun, January 15, 2024


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