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Vacation bonus initiative gaining popularity.

The government's plan to support workers' vacations that offers subsidies is receiving rave reviews as more than 15,000 workers have applied to benefit from it.

Under the initiative, if an employee and an employer pay 200,000 won and 100,000 won, respectively, to set up a vacation fund, the government gives 100,000 won to it, meaning the worker will eventually have a "vacation bonus" of 200,000 won.

This year, the vacation bonus plan is expected to benefit 20,000 employees working for small- and mid-sized firms.

According to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), the number of those who have applied for the vacation support system reached 15,443 employees from 1,211 companies, as of Monday.

Although people can apply for the bonus before the Friday deadline, the overall number is easily anticipated to top the 20,000 mark, considering the current pace of applications -- 1,200 people per day, the KTO noted.

The KTO plans to announce the results of the selection on April 30.

By size of businesses, 7,352 workers from 292 medium-sized firms have applied for the vacation support project, while 6,833 from 671 small firms did so.

The vacation support system -- borrowed from France's "cheque vacances' concept -- comes as the Moon Jae-in administration seeks to encourage workers to take more days off for vacation, which it hopes will boost the domestic tourism industry.

In addition, the initiative was part of President Moon's campaign pledges last year.

Last October, the Cabinet approved a proposal to designate Oct. 2 as a one-off holiday to bridge the weekend and long Chuseok holiday to make it possible for workers to take 10 consecutive days off.

However, it is not the first time for a Korean government to attempt to roll out the plan.

In 2014, the Park Geun-hye government also test-operated the vacation bonus system among 180 mid- and small-sized businesses, but it was shortly abolished the next year due to the lack of participating companies.

According to the KTO, should the number of applicants exceed 20,000, those who participated in the pilot project in 2014 will be selected preferentially.

"As the government will initially put the system in practice this year, there were some concerns that there might be a small number of companies to participate. However, it seems to be pretty easy to surpass the 20,000 mark," said a KTO official.

"We plan to increase the number of people, while expanding the range of companies next year."

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Publication:The Korea Times News (Seoul, Korea)
Date:Apr 17, 2018
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