South Korea's finance chief called on officials Friday to ensure the government's recent decision to raise next year's minimum wage would not lead to job losses.
The comments by Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon in a meeting with officials illustrated the government's commitment to minimizing the side effects the minimum wage hike could have on small firms as well as mom-and-pop stores.
Earlier this month, a tripartite commission of the government, labor and management reached an agreement to increase the minimum hourly wage to 7,530 won (US$6.68) in 2018, up 16.4 percent from the current 6,470 won.
While the decision was hailed by the labor circle and part-time workers, small business owners immediately expressed concerns, saying it will force many of them to go out of business or cut back on the people they hire.
Also Friday, the Federation of Micro Enterprise (KFME), a business lobby representing small-sized businesses, filed an objection with the Ministry of Employment and Labor, saying the support measures rolled out by the government fall short of resolving difficulties faced by small business owners.
The lobby demanded the government nullify the latest decision on the wage hike and form a new commission to review next year's minimum wage.
Under the law, representatives of labor or management organizations can file complaints within 10 days of official notification of the annual wage hike decision.
Once the objection is submitted, the country's labor minister has a say in whether to re-examine the minimum wage, though there has not been a single such case.
The KFME said it is planning to file a legal injunction against the wage hike if its complaint with the ministry is not accepted.(Yonhap News)