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Labor minister vows to let artists receive employment insurance


South Korea's labor minister vowed efforts Thursday to make it possible for artists to receive benefits from the employment insurance system starting next year as a parliamentary panel approved related legislation.

The parliamentary labor committee on Monday passed a revision to the employment insurance act to enable artists to be included in the labor safety net. If passed at a plenary session, artists will be able to receive unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs.

"The government plans to seamlessly prepare for related sub-legislation to enable artists to receive the benefits of the employment insurance scheme starting next year," Labor Minister Lee Jae-kap said at a meeting with artists.

Lee stressed the "urgent" need to expand the employment safety net for artists as the COVID-19 health crisis put their livelihoods at risk.

South Korea is working to gradually expand the employment insurance system to all working people as the coronavirus pandemic is expected to take a toll on the already sluggish job market.

Initially, a revision to the employment insurance act was submitted to expand the scope of its beneficiaries to not only artists but also non-standard contract employees, such as tutors and delivery workers.

But during a review at the parliamentary committee, non-standard contract workers were excluded from the list.

Non-standard contract employees, freelancers, artists, the self-employed and other vulnerable workers are not obliged to subscribe to the employment insurance as they are not regarded as workers under the Labor Standards Act. (Yonhap)