The Short-Hours Part-Time Jobs in Korea

Moon, Ji-Sun and Young-Mi Kim. 2017. Korean Journal of Labor Studies 23(1): 129-164. 

This article is an exploratory study on the recent growth of short-hours part-time
work in Korea. The short-hours part-time work has been rapidly growing among low-educated women over sixty, particularly among bereaved or divorced women, contrary to the expectation of the government that encouraged the part-time work by means of work-family balance for working mothers or middle-aged women who experienced career interruption. The short-hours part-time jobs are concentrated in social service industry, mostly elderly care service jobs, and their working conditions are extremely poor, mostly low-wage jobs with no social insurances except for health insurance. In this study, we discuss why the short-hours part-time work has grown so fast in Korea since the mid 2000s. Using various governmental statistics, we examine the effects of the labor demand and supply situations during the time period, the legal context that is related with the exempt clause of the labor law, and the institutional context related with the government’s public job creation projects for the elderly. We suggest some public policies needed to slow down the growth of the short-hours part-time jobs and to elevate their working conditions.

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