Gov't to create flex-time civil service positions

SEOUL, Sept. 16 (Yonhap) -- The government plans to recruit 4,000 part-time civil servants over the next four years as part of efforts to provide people unable to work full-time with more chances to serve in the public arena, the home affairs ministry said Monday.

Under the plan put forth by the Ministry of Security and Public Administration, the government will hire a total of 4,000 mid- to low-ranking government employees from 2014-2017, who will be allowed to work four hours per day or 20 hours a week.

The officials will be permitted to choose a flexible work schedule, with the government to guarantee their position until they reach the retirement age of 60, according to the ministry.

Though the government will not designate specific fields for the positions, such professional realms as the interpretation of laws, foreign language translation and library science will see more part-time officials, the ministry said.

Their payment is expected to reach half that of regular employees, and the part-time officials will take twice the time to get promoted, the ministry said, adding details will be fixed by the end of this year.

To push for the plan, the government will announce a revision to a related law on Tuesday with the aim of enacting it next year.

"We need more quality jobs for those who have capabilities but are unable to work full-time such as mothers who quit their jobs for childbirth and child-rearing," Minister Yoo Jeong-bok said.

"The introduction of the new system is expected to help encourage private entities to diversify their employment patterns, which will provide people marginalized by the current labor market with more chances to work so as to resolve diverse social problems such as the chronically low birthrate," another ministry official said.

The plan is part of the government's comprehensive policy road map to create nearly 1 million decent part-time jobs by 2017 with a goal to raise the employment rate to 70 percent. The latest government data showed South Korea's employment rate stood at 59.8 percent in April.

It will be the first time for the government to create such flex-time positions in the public realm, though it introduced a system in 2010 that allows civil servants to choose their own working hours within given limits and select their own workplaces.

As of May, a total of 3,692 civil servants, mostly irregular workers, worked on a flexible schedule, which is less than 0.5 percent of the total.

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