Tuesday, March 01, 2011

South Korea: Government Thinking about Raising Retirement Age

According to news reports, the South Korean government is cconsidering raising the average retirement age to 60 from the current average of 57 to lessen the impact of the retirement the country's baby boomers. Bae Ji-sook, writing for The Korean Herald, states that, while The "Baby Boomer Committee"--an affiliate of the Economic and Social Development Commission, a group representative of employers, employees and the government--is planning to submit a related bill to the National Assembly, he notes that the plan is expected to face fierce opposition from both employers and employees.

This is not a new conversation, as the article refers to a 2010 survey by online recruiter SaramIn of member employers. According to that, 61.4% said a rise in retirement age was necessary, and about 49% said they needed the skills and experience of older workers, followed by companies seeking stability, craftsmanship and other qualities.

Kim Rahn, writing for The Korea Times, states that the Korea Employers Federation opposed setting a legal retirement age.
“We acknowledge the need for older people to remain in the labor market. But those workers usually receive higher wages according to the seniority system, so extending the retirement age through fixing it by law will weaken corporate competitiveness,” an official of the federation said.

“Instead, we propose the government prepare measures to reduce companies’ labor cost burden, such as not turning non-regular job status of workers aged over 55 into regular ones after two years of employment.”
Sources: Korea Herald "Korea may raise retirement age to 60: report" (February 28, 2011); The Korea Times "Legislation sought to change retirement age to 60" (February 28, 2011)

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