Who’s Helped by Raising the Minimum Wage?
Who’s Helped by Raising the Minimum Wage?
  • Woo Ji-yun
  • 승인 2023.03.29 17:15
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Yeungnam University Orange Town Street (Photo by reporter Woo Ji-yun)
Yeungnam University Orange Town Street (Photo by reporter Woo Ji-yun)

  The minimum wage system is designed to stabilize workers’ lives by setting a minimum wage level enforced by law. The state determines the minimum wage based on criteria such as worker living expenses, similar worker wages, labor productivity, and income distribution under the Minimum Wage Act. Korea’s hourly minimum wage for 2023 has been set at 9,620 won, a 5% increase from last year. 
  The minimum wage has steadily risen since 2013, with rising prices. So what about part-timer and employer perceptions of the 2023 minimum wage? The Yeungna
m Observer interviewed Yeungnam University students about their thoughts on the minimum wage hike. Kim Ji-young, who works part-time at a convenience store near YU, felt no significant impact even if the minimum wage increased. She said, “I am currently receiving 8,000 won per hour. I can afford an hourly wage below the minimum wage because it is difficult to find a better-quality part-time job.” As the minimum wage continues to rise sharply and the economic situation is not good, it has become challenging to find a part-time job. Kim Da-hyun, a student at YU, has applied for a part-time job since February, but there was only one response. She said, “Even one place is where I can work when the store is busy after the semester begins.”
  The price of food ingredients and packaging containers is rising. Also, labor costs are rising, so it is an inevitable choice to reduce costs even a little. Employers say it is difficult to give a minimum wage to part-timers due to the decline in sales caused by COVID-19 and a sharp increase in the minimum wage. Lee, who runs a restaurant near YU, said he would have to lay-off part-timers and work with his family from April. 
  The minimum wage is an essential factor in society and the economy. However, The Observer’s interview revealed significant concerns about the minimum wage hike.

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