We who are young are all very interested in fashion. Therefore, some of the students at Gachon University would like to get employment and a foundation in the fashion industry. From now on, I want to say something important to classmates who want to enter the fashion industry with their overflowing passion. Those who want to start a business must protect the legal rights of their employees, and those who want to get a job must confidently demand their legal rights. Let's think, if you work unfairly or get hired without legal rights, your overflowing passion will be defeated. To prevent this, I met and talked with Jeong Won-sik, a labor worker who has consulted about creating legitimate labor relations between workers and companies.
1. What does a certified labor attorney do?
A certified labor attorney deals with a variety of things. For example, they negotiate on behalf of the labor union and the company. Workers who get hurt while working are called industrial accidents. They apply for industrial accidents by proxy because employees do not know much about the labor law. They also consult with the company about the personnel system to design personnel systems suitable for each company's characteristics. It can be said that they work on all personnel labor, including proxy work and give advice about disputes that arise in case of a delay in wages paid for work, or other problems like when, the company treats employees unfairly or fires them without cause, injury while working, or the company goes out of business.
2. Why did you choose to provide free legal services to fashion designers despite many other fields?
The working environment of the designer is very poor. Once, there was a big dispute over passion pay, which is only 300,000 to 400,000 won per month despite working overtime every day. At that time, issues such as "getting no minimum wage" and "being exploited" were big issues. The paradigm of the legal system has shifted into a direction to rescue those people legally. Also, a free legal service request came from Seoul Design Foundation, a ”fashion angel”.
3. What advice would you give to young students who want to enter the fashion industry without knowing the law and have passion?
I will tell you about two cases, one about starting a business and the other about getting a job. In the case of starting a business, the “passion pay” is a practice in the fashion industry. Now such practices are changing a lot, and it is time to guarantee legal working hours, minimum hourly wage, holidays and vacations on a legal basis. That’s why people’s perceptions are changing. Therefore, students who wish to start a business must obey these laws when hiring workers. In the past, workers used to say, “Let’s work for the first time in years“, but the perceptions has changed to bring a problem to the Korea Labor Office. In case of getting a job, although it has changed a lot, there are still some bad practices. Even if they get unfair treatment, they often put up with the worries that they might face disadvantages when they continue to work in the fashion industry. However, employees should actively demand their rights because they are not at a disadvantage.
4. What is the legal part that students who want to become fashion designers want to observe?
You must write an employment contract when you hire employees because failure to write a work contract can cause various problems, from minimum wage issues to the weekly-holiday allowance, working time, etc. They also should pay 5 million won in fines. Even if you employ a staff for just one day, you must write an employment contract to cope with disputes later on. And the issue these days is the minimum wage, and weekly-holiday allowance. Those parts must also be observed too. To ensure the rights mentioned above, a work contract must be written when you are hired as an employee.
5. What are some laws you would really like to improve on your job?
Certified labor attorneys do not always work on the workers' side. They also work on the company side. The Labor Standards Act is for the protection of workers only. For example, if a company is harmed when an employee is absent without leave, there is no way for the company to take any action, and there is no way for the damage to be saved. The current Labor Standards Law does not protect the company from bad employees, including absence without leave. Hopefully, the law will be improved to protect both workers and companies.
6. What are the most frequent disputes between workers and companies?
The most common dispute these days is weekly leave pay (holiday allowance). Large companies pay all their weekly leave pay, but small companies pay only daily wages so there are many disputes over this because they do not pay weekly holiday allowances. Another major dispute is not writing an employment contract. There are more problems derived from not writing an employment contract itself. Within the salary that requires a contract to be written, weekly holiday allowance is included, and the amount of vacation time and hourly wages are specified. On the company side, the company can respond that "I didn't get anything." It only needed a working contract to pay, and the employers still lack the concept of payment. If an employment contract is not filled out, workers who claim that they did not receive the payment in full can face another problem. On the other hand, if you are an employee, you must make sure to sign an employment contract to make a reasonable demand for various rights, such as various wages and vacations.
7. When do you feel rewarded while working as a certified labor attorney?
There was a woman who was working in a sewing factory. She was unfairly dismissed from the company and didn't know what to do, so she came to me. In the meantime, there was 20 million won in unpaid money, so I put a claim to the Ministry of Labor and she finally received the money. It is rewarding to help the socially weak and to rescue them.
After listening to Chung Won-sik, did you come to think of legal rights as important as passion? When Gachon University students become members of the fashion industry, they hope that they will not have legal disputes. I believe that we can succeed if we have legal rights and passion for it. I hope you will read this article and think about legal rights< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >