Korea continues to foster social enterprises with a new subsidy scheme. The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) announced that beginning today, preliminary social enterprises employing 10 or more workers will receive subsidies for employing professional workers. If they employ vulnerable people, the labor costs will be subsidized for up to 50 people.
The scheme is aimed at boosting the self-sustainability of preliminary social enterprises and reducing the difficulties they face during the initial period of operation as they tend to lack business expertise. It is helping ease unemployment among professional workers, including retired baby boomers with plenty of experience, through work in social enterprises.
Professional workers are those who have worked for at least three years in the fields of planning, personnel & labor affairs, sales, marketing & public relations, education & training, accounting & finance, and legal affairs, and those who have worked for at least two years in the fields of culture, art, design & film, trade, and information, communications, computing & merchandising.
Currently, the program is available only to certified social enterprises. A subsidy of up to 2 million won ($1,800 USD) per person per year, for up to three years, is provided for a maximum of three professional workers per enterprise. Now, preliminary social enterprises will be eligible for a subsidy that covers up to two years of labor costs for one professional worker per enterprise.
In addition, the social service job creation program which subsidizes the labor costs if a social enterprise or a preliminary social enterprise hires new workers will be strengthened. Each year, social enterprises are invited to submit job creation projects where 5 to 30 workers are supported in each selected enterprise. From now on, the number of workers supported will be between 1 to 50 people depending on the size of the business, allowing for greater flexibility.
“This institutional reform is expected to have the effect of killing two birds with one stone by allowing baby boomers ill-prepared for their old age to provide their expertise to social enterprises and thus giving them a feeling of satisfaction and stable jobs as well as improving the business competence of preliminary social enterprises,” said Lee Tae-hee, the Director-General of the Manpower Policy Bureau.
At the end of September 2012, there were 699 social enterprises certified by the MOEL and 1,111 preliminary social enterprises designated by local governors.
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