Korean government looking to overhaul corporate pay system; Domestic companies’ wage systems are so complicated that even employees do not precisely understand how their salaries are calculated

Gov’t looking to overhaul corporate pay system

Seo Dong-cheol, Jang Jae-woong

2013.09.02 18:29:46

A survey of 1,000 South Korean companies with 100 or more staff on their payrolls showed that basic wages constituted an average of 57.3 percent of workers’ annual salary, said the Ministry of Employment and Labor Monday. Recently, Korea has seen a series of lawsuits regarding ordinary wages, with a Supreme Court trial on a case concerning ordinary wages scheduled to be held at 2:00 pm on September 5. The trial will be presided over by the chief justice, and at least two-thirds of the 13 Supreme Court justices will be seated. The thorny issue of ordinary wages is attributed to companies’ complicated wage systems that consist of various types of allowances and bonuses. Domestic companies’ wage systems are so complicated that even employees do not precisely understand how their salaries are calculated. Consequently, workers’ performance and capacity are not proportionately tied to their salaries, and corporations are saddled with diverse types of allowances. Gaining ground is the argument that the more belatedly the basic wage and ordinary wage systems will be revamped, the more difficult it will become to tackle the issues regarding the retirement age and resolving youth unemployment to improve job creation and the quality of employment. A government official said “a fundamental shift in wage systems will ease the financial burden on corporations, increase productivity and employment and improve labor-management relations.” The Ministry of Employment and Labor set up a new division and a research task force committed to establishing a more reasonable wage system with the goal of resolving the ordinary wage issue and settling the retirement age at 60 by 2016

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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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