More than half of the self-employed believe the minimum wage should be frozen or lowered next year, according to a new survey.

The Federation of Korean Businessmen and Entrepreneurs announced on Thursday the results of the “Minimum Wage and Management and Working Conditions Survey” commissioned by the polling firm Mono Research and conducted among 500 self-employed people from February 2 to 8 last month.

According to the survey, 58.4% of the self-employed respondents said that the minimum wage should be frozen (47.2%) or lowered (11.2%) next year.

The proportion of respondents who believe the minimum wage should be frozen or lowered is higher in the accommodation and food services (67.5%) and education services (65.6%) industries.

In addition, 43.2% of the self-employed respondents said that the current minimum wage of 9,620 won per hour is a burden on their business안전놀이터.

When asked about the employment impact of raising the minimum wage next year, 55.0% of respondents said that they were already unable to hire.

Another 9.2% of respondents said they would consider not hiring or laying off existing employees if the minimum wage was increased by 1-3%. 7.2% would do the same for a 3-6% increase.

When asked how much of a minimum wage increase would cause them to consider going out of business, 36.2% of self-employed respondents said they were “already at a break-even point. 7.6 percent and 5.2 percent of self-employed respondents chose “1 to 3 percent increase” and “3 to 6 percent increase,” respectively.

The KFA is concerned that 49.0% of the self-employed will consider going out of business if the minimum wage committee sets the minimum wage increase at 5.9% next year, higher than the previous year’s rate (5.0%).

The most urgent improvement to the minimum wage system is to “limit the rate of increase considering economic conditions” (28.2%).

This was followed by “applying differentials by industry and region” (26.2%), “expanding support for the increase in the minimum wage for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises” (13.8%), and “improving the minimum wage calculation criteria” (13.2%).

“Due to the recent economic downturn and high inflation, household consumption has contracted, and self-employed people are suffering from a severe sales slump,” said Chu Kwang-ho, head of the Economy and Industry Division of the Korea Federation of Trade Unions. “The minimum wage needs to be adjusted reasonably in light of these aspects.”

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