Serious Accident Punishment Act comes under court review

2024.04.02 10:35:01 | 2024.04.02 10:37:56

[Photo by MK DB]이미지 확대

[Photo by MK DB]

The Constitutional Court of Korea is set to determine whether the controversial Serious Accident Punishment Act, aimed at holding business owners accountable for severe accidents at work, is constitutional. Once a petition for constitutional review is filed, the court will decide whether to hear the case within 30 days.

The country’s industry group for small and medium enterprises filed a constitutional challenge to the act on Monday. The petition was filed by nine SME organizations, including the Korea Federation of SMEs (KBIZ), and 305 SME owners and micro-entrepreneurs nationwide in the various sectors, including manufacturing, construction, retail, and fishing, with more than 5 but less than 50 full-time workers who have been subject to the act since January 27th, 2024.

The KBIZ said it hopes that the excessive punishment of more than a year in prison will be ruled unconstitutional. KBIZ executive vice chairman Jeong Yoon-mo expressed concerns that the act not only burdens businesses with vague and expansive duties but also sets penalties that are disproportionate to small business owners’ responsibilities, further straining the business environment.

“This petition is not an attempt to evade the application of the Serious Accident Punishment Act but to seek rationalization of the penalties in line with the principle of responsibility and clarification of regulations according to the legality principle of criminal law,” Jung said.

By Kim Dong-eun and Minu Kim

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