S. Korea to further expand scope of beneficiaries of employment insurance system

South Korea plans to allow delivery workers and designated drivers to receive benefits from the employment insurance system starting next year as the government seeks to expand the labor safety net, a senior government official said Friday.

It is part of the government’s plan to expand the employment insurance scheme to all working people as the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the job market.

The government plans to enable some platform workers, including delivery workers and designated drivers, to subscribe to the employment insurance system starting January, according to Vice First Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon.

The move will allow them to receive unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs.

To strengthen the social safety net, the government has permitted artists and 12 special types of workers, including insurance agents, to enroll in the employment insurance scheme since December last year.

South Korea introduced the employment insurance program in 1995 as the main employment safety net for regular workers.

All employers, who hire at least one worker, were required to enroll in the employment insurance starting in 1998.

But non-standard contract workers, freelancers, 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 standard act.

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