Ⅰ. Background and Objectives
□ Korea has achieved miraculous economic growth over the past half century with successful government-led economic policies. Labor policy and law contributed to the labor-intensive industry that enabled such economic growth.
□ Study on domestic political and economical circumstances and research on developed countries’ legislation and policy affected on changes of Korean labor law
□ Many emerging and developing countries and countries in transition consider Korea’s legislative development as their role model that will reinforce their economic growth.
□ Analysis of how Korean labor legislation has been secured, changed, and developed by the state in relation to economic growth will present lessons for emerging and developing countries and countries in transition.
Ⅱ. Main Contents
□ Relationship between economic growth and labor
○ Development of labor law and consequent protection of the rights and benefits of workers boosts the morale of workers and enhances their productivity, ultimately stabilizing society by improving the survival and dignity of workers, thus driving economic growth in the long term.
○ Labor law played a pivotal role in protecting the rights and benefits of workers and absorbing conflicts institutionally.
○ Along with the economic growth secured by the government-led development plan, labor law has continued to be re-enacted and amended since the beginning of economic development in 1960.
○ Until present, labor law has amended by state’s initiation, based on state’s economic policy.
□ Changes of Korean labor law
○ Phase 1 (1953 ~ 1960)：Introduction of individual labor relations law and enactment of the Labor Standards Act, Phase 2 (1961 ~ 1986)：Establishment of government-led economic development plans and enactment of the Minimum Wage Act, Phase 3 (1987 ~ 1996)：Steady developmet of the LAbor Standards Act and enactment of the Act on Equal Employment for Both Sexes, Phase 4 (1997 ~ 2005)：Re-enactment and amendment of the Labor Standards Act and ratification of the Act on the Protection, Etc. of Temporary Agency Workers, Phase 5 (2006 ~ Present)：Enactment of the law for the protection of non-regular workers
□ Analysis of changes and development of Korean labor law
○ Enactment and amendments of individual labor relations law shows government-driven developments
○ The first amendment of the Labor Standards Act was criticized as labor control to make it easier to mobilize labor force needed to the growth strategy based on internal labor mobilization. Seeking to capitalize labor and adjusting its content to a practicable level in the first amendment ended up to degrade the level of protection of the rights and interests of workers, and thus this may be deemed as regression rather than progress. At the same time, however, the amendment is deemed to have shown efforts to improve the effectiveness in its application by improving penal provisions and forming labor supervision system in order to strengthen the role of the government as a guardian despite the lowering of its protection level.
○ As Korea joined OECD and entered competition under the WTO system, the government pushed ahead with the policy to reinforce economic competitiveness to address the economic crisis, such as unfavorable balance of payment, slump in exporting, and sluggish growth rate, and as part of the policy, the Labor Standards Act was amended to improve the cost structure of companies by reducing and changing the rights and interests of workers.
○ In such cases where the law and economy made progress through mutual influence, the progress of the Act on Equal Employment for Both Sexes is the one in which economic growth has had a particularly strong influence on legislation.
○ Although working women played an important role in labor, which is the engine of the economy, under the impoverished economic circumstances of the 1950s and under the slightly improved situation of the 1960s, discussions on gender equality in employment rarely occurred, since women were still vulnerable members of society. Later, the economic growth rate and the Act on Equal Employment for Both Sexes have followed the same path relatively continuously in their development.
○ During IMF bailout program, the number of non-regular workers skyrocketed due to corporate restructuring and management efficiency. Non-regular worker protection legislation, such as the Act on the Protection, Etc. of Temporary Agency Workers and the Act on the Protection, Etc. of Fixed-term Employees and Part-time Employees has been continuously improved in an effort to provide institutional strategy to protect non-regular workers under the circumstances where dispatched labor itself is prohibited according to the Employment Security Act and also to seek employment stability by recognizing already prevalent non-regular labor as a form of labor and protecting it under the aegis of law.
Ⅲ. Expected effects
□ Analysis of how Korea labor law protecting the rights and interests of workers have been secured, changed, and developed by the state in relation to economic growth will provide an important reference in studying the corelation between economic growth and labor law
□ Useful as basic information for International legal collaboration and support
Chapter 1. Introduction 11
Chapter 2. Relationship between economic growth and labor 17
Chapter 3. Analysis of changes and development in Korean labor law 23
Chapter 4. Conclusions 79