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S. Korea confirms 5 percent minimum wage increase for 2023

Aug. 5, 2022 - 14:31 By Shim Woo-hyun
Labor Minister Lee Jeong-sik (Yonhap)

The minimum hourly wage for next year has been finalized at 9,620 won ($7.38), up 5 percent, or 460 won, from this year, unchanged from the Minimum Wage Commission’s earlier decision, the Labor Ministry said Friday.

The ministry officially published the 2023 minimum wage in the government gazette at 9 a.m.

The new minimum wage translates to a monthly wage of 2.02 million won, when an individual works 209 hours a month. This will apply equally across all industries.

Earlier on June 29, the Minimum Wage Commission, which consists of nine representatives each from labor, business and the public, came to the agreement to increase the minimum wage by 5 percent during a plenary session.

The ministry, since then, accepted objections during a 10-day appeal period, during which an umbrella labor union and three business associations appealed. The labor sector argued that the raise is too small, while the management side insisted otherwise.

The ministry, however, kept the initial agreement to raise the minimum wage by 5 percent.

“The Minimum Wage Commission’s decision should be respected as it determined the minimum wage in comprehensive consideration of the economic condition at here and abroad, as well as difficulties that low-income workers and small-size business merchants are facing,” Labor Minister Lee Jeong-sik said.

Lee added, “(the ministry) will do its best so that the minimum wage increase can improve working conditions of low-income workers.”

The ministry will also conduct research on whether to introduce differentiated minimum wages for different industries. It would also collect opinions from both the labor and management sides regarding the research.