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Nonregular workers discriminated by financial firms: labor ministry

Nov. 24, 2023 - 14:21 By Shin Ji-hye

Labor Minister Lee Jung-sik (far right) speaks at a meeting with financial organizations held to address unfair treatment for nonregular workers in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)

South Korean financial institutions have been found to treat nonregular workers unfairly, according to the Labor Ministry on Friday.

The ministry revealed the results of an investigation it conducted on 14 financial organizations, including banks, securities and insurance companies. A total of 62 cases of discrimination were identified across 12 companies, though the names of these companies were not disclosed.

In one case, a sales office failed to provide a monthly lunch allowance of 200,000 won ($150) and transportation costs of 100,000 won to nonregular workers, benefits that were given to regular workers. Additionally, the criteria for awarding bonuses were set differently for regular and nonregular workers.

One bank had rules requiring nonregular workers to arrive at the office 10 minutes earlier than regular workers, who were allowed to come on time. In another case, a different bank paid special bonuses equivalent to 100 percent of a regular worker's salary to directly hired drivers, while only awarding a special bonus of 400,000 won to drivers who were dispatched from recruitment agencies.

One securities firm awarded regular workers a holiday bonus of 600,000 won, but did not extend this payment to workers who were covering parental leave.

According to Statistics Korea data from August, the average monthly salary for regular workers was 3.62 million won, compared to 1.95 million won for nonregular employees.

The Labor Ministry intends to soon announce plans aimed at ensuring fair treatment for nonregular workers.