The number of people joining the employment insurance scheme for the self-employed has exceeded 10,000 just five months after its introduction on January 22nd.
To celebrate this, Lee Chae-pil, the Minister of Employment and Labor, visited the 10,000th workplace and the 12,345th workplace, one of the latest, to join the scheme on July 10th (Tue.).
The 10,000th person to join the scheme is Lee Hwa-sun running a barber shop (Jegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul). He has operated the barber shop in the same place for 22 years.
After reading a related newspaper article, he joined the employment insurance scheme for the self-employed to cope with days when he can no longer work due to the deterioration of his health, etc.
Minister Lee Chae-pil talked with Mr. Lee about difficulties facing self-employed people, and then they together put up a plaque marking the 10,000th workplace to join the scheme.
Kim Jin-yong, the president of the Korea Master Barbers Association, who also joined the ceremony, said, "We will play an active role in spreading the employment insurance scheme for the self-employed."
The 12,345th person to join the scheme is Kim Eun-ju running a Gimbap restaurant. She started the business in October 2010 after her spouse retired.
Ms. Kim said, "My business is a bit unstable because a renewal of the shop tenancy is uncertain. And yet as I have joined the employment insurance scheme for the self-employed, I feel reassured and seem likely to pull myself together a little more."
The number of people joining the employment insurance scheme for the self-employed has sharply increased since mid-May, surpassing 10,000 in late June, and reaching 12,531 on July 8th.
An MOEL official said, "The effect of publicity and promotion activities steadily conducted to spread the scheme since its implementation is beginning to appear."
A self-employed person should join the scheme within six months after the date of his/her business registration or the enforcement date of the scheme to enjoy the benefits.
Those who started business before January 22nd when the scheme was introduced should join it no later than July 21st.
Employment and Labor Minister Lee Chae-pil said, "The proportion of self-employed people in Korea is far higher than that in advanced countries, but they face so many difficulties that more than half of them are forced to shut down their businesses within three years after start-up."
He emphasized, "That the number of people joining the employment insurance scheme for the self-employed has exceeded 10,000 is good news because it means a more robust social safety net for self-employed people."
Minister Lee also added, "After July 21st, existing self-employed people cannot join the scheme, so I hope, occupational organizations, such as industry associations, will make active efforts to further spread it."