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6,500 workers with disabilities legally paid less than minimum wage: report

All News 11:12 June 14, 2022

SEOUL, June 14 (Yonhap) -- About 6,500 workers with disabilities legally earned less than the minimum wage last year, a report said Tuesday.

The report from the Korea Labor and Society Institute found a total of 6,547 workers were excluded from the minimum wage rule as of August 2021.

Their average monthly wage was 363,441 won (US$282), or 19.9 percent of the minimum wage at that time, the report said.

By law, the minimum wage does not apply to employees "with a very limited working capacity due to a mental or physical disability and other employees to whom it is deemed inappropriate to apply the minimum wage."

This file photo shows a person with a disability on a wheelchair. (Yonhap)

The report said the act recognizes exceptions too broadly, giving employers leeway to violate the rule.

"The minimum wage should apply to all workers, including those with disabilities," the report said. "The government should support employers so that employment of people with disabilities would not be adversely affected (by the application of the minimum wage)."

As of 2019, 788,000 people, or 4.8 percent of the nation's total 16.3 million employees, were paid less than the minimum wage, the report said.

By industry, the percentage of workers below the minimum pay was the highest in arts and leisure sectors with 14.8 percent, followed by transport (11.1 percent), accommodation and food services (11 percent), education (9.8 percent), and real estate lease business (9.8 percent).
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