|TITLE||Gov't to use tax benefits, wage peaks to boost youth employment|
The government will offer tax incentives and encourage companies to adopt a wage peak system to help young people find jobs, the country's top economic policymaker said Monday.
Speaking to students and faculty members at the Korea University of Technology and Education in Cheonan, 92 kilometers south of Seoul, Choi Kyung-hwan said the government is committed to finding new jobs in both the public and private sectors.
The finance minister's pledge comes as the jobless rate among people between 15 and 29 reached 10.2 percent last month, a much higher number than the 3.9 percent unemployment figure for the population as a whole.
"Failure by young people to find jobs is a loss, not only to individuals, but to the society and economy as a whole," he said.
To deal with the problem at hand, the government is pushing for the early voluntary retirement of schoolteachers, which can create more positions, Choi said, adding that more nurses and day care center workers will be hired in the coming months, which can create jobs in the public sector.
"In order to spur the private sector to hire more people on a long-term basis, the government will give tax exemptions to companies that hire more people and encourage firms to adopt wage peaks," said Choi, who doubles as deputy prime minister for economic affairs.
A wage peak system calls for lower wages for workers just before retirement, with the money saved to be used to hire new employees.
Choi also said that the government will set up new intern programs for medium and large companies that can provide valuable on-the-job experience for 100,000 young people.
The minister stressed that the government will play a role in pushing forward labor market reforms to enhance flexibility in the hiring and firing of workers and fuel growth in the local service sector.