[Anchor Lead]The country's minimum wage will rise from 6,470 won this year to 7,530 won per hour next year. The wage hike will benefit over 4.6 million workers. However the relatively steep wage increase is more than double that of past years and may trigger repercussions.[Pkg]The Minimum Wage Commission has set next year's minimum wage at 7,530 won per hour. It's up 1,060 won or 16.4 % from this year's 6,470 won. Based on a 40 hour work week, monthly wage will amount to 1.57 million won, about 220-thousand won more than this year. As many as 4.63 million workers will benefit from the wage hike. Maternity leave and unemployment benefits which are based upon the minimum wage will also increase. During the final session of the Minimum Wage Commission which continued until late at night, a vote was held on the final revised proposals laid out by labor and management representatives. The hourly 7,530 won pay proposed by the labor side was eventually adopted in a 15 to 12 voting outcome.[Soundbite] Kim Jong-in(mployee Representative, Minimum Wage Commission) : "It does appear a record amount, but I don't think it will satisfy minimum wage laborers spilling sweat and tears at work sites."Management officials strongly protested the result. They raised issue with the process by which the wage level was determined, and some members on the commission expressed their intent to step down from their posts.[Soundbite] Kim Mun-sik(mployer Representative, Minimum Wage Commission) : "The level is totally unacceptable to small firms and small-scale businesspeople. The opinion of small-scale employers was completely ignored."A double digit hike in the minimum wage comes for the first time in 11 years. 16.4 percent is more than double the 7.4% average growth recorded in the past 5 years.
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