Vol. 5 Num 926 Sat. January 06, 2007  

ROK to stop discrimination against aged job-seekers

South Korea--faced with a rapidly ageing population--plans a law that will ban companies from discriminating against elderly job-seekers, the labour minister said Friday.

Minister Lee Sang-Soo also said the Labour Ministry plans to change its name to the Ministry of Employment and Labor as part of efforts to shift its focus to helping workers find jobs.

"In order to help cope with the ageing society, we are pushing for the legislation of a ban on discrimination on grounds of age," the minister said in an interview with Yonhap news agency.

A new law to that effect is expected to be in place in the first half of this year, he said.

He also said the government will try to persuade firms and labour unions to shift away from considering seniority in setting wages, and take performance into account.

Lee said companies are reluctant to hire elderly workers because of the seniority-based wage system.

"The government will also pursue a policy of encouraging firms to extend retirement ages," he said.

The ageing of South Korea's population accelerated in 2005 as the number of old people surged amid a low birth rate, official data showed.