South Korean Human Rights Monitor


Ministry of Employment and Labor denied proposals of NHRCK on Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act

Eung Cheol Kim January 7, 2013

On May 14, the Ministry took a hard-line stance stating not to accommodate the improvement suggestions of the NHRCK which recommended that an employee and a  company must share the burden of proof regarding the causal relations between disease and work referring to ‘sickness due to occupational cases’ of ‘Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act’.


The improvement suggestion about the burden of proof arose from cases of the lack of recognition of the professional correlation with disease when Samsung employees were alleged to have leukemia as a result of working at a semiconductor factory.


The current Industrial Accident Compensation System mandates three conditions before it is recognized as a sickness due to occupation. First, Employees must deal with harmful and dangerous substances sufficiently. Second, it is acknowledged that handling dangerous stuff could cause illnesses. Third, it must have a medical causal relationship.


The NHRCK, however in relation to those affected working at the Samsung semiconductor factories it is difficult for individual employees to prove the set conditions for Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act as it requires high expertise, time and money.


The NHRCK also recommended that i) in addition and supplementation of concrete occupational illness standards not renewed since 2003,  ii)independence, fairness and professionalism secured by appointing a chairman of an occupational disease judging committee who was not a stakeholder and iii)the abolition of employer’s seal requirement for Industrial Accident Compensation insurance.


However, the Ministry of Employment and Labor denied the proposals, concerning indiscriminate compensation and excessive fiscal outlays caused by illnesses which are difficult to show professional correlation.


The Ministry of Employment and Labor, meanwhile, notified its passive agreement, planning to do field education and change forms to inform widely of being possible to apply paychecks without employer’s seal on the condition that current employer’s seal system is maintained.



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