The government needs to consider a new approach to the minimum wage system after the tripartite commission set the hourly minimum wage for next year at 9,860 won ($7.8). The decision-making process for the minimum wage was difficult this year, with representatives from labor and the general public clashing and the first meeting being cancelled. After a long 110 days of deliberation, the commission settled on the business side’s suggestion. Labor members argued that the 2.5 percent increase was an effective decrease in real wages for workers, while small business operators expressed their difficulty in managing and operating with the increase in hourly minimum wage. It is time to explore a differentiated minimum wage based on industries and regions, alongside enacting reasonable wage calculation criteria in order to protect the rights of low-wage workers and promote business competitiveness.
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