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7. S. Korea Introduces 52-hr Workweek System


In July, South Korea introduced the 52-hour workweek system at companies with more than 300 workers, with the aim of implementing the shorter working hours at all workplaces by 2021.

Under the new system, Korean workers cannot work over 52 hours per week – they are allowed 40 hours of regular work and 12 hours of overtime.

The introduction came in line with revisions to the Labor Standard Act that slashed workweek hours from 68 hours to 52 hours.

The new system brought about positive changes, including allowing workers to have more leisure time and be able to enjoy a balance between work and life.

But the reduction in working hours, which came amid poor economic figures and a minimum wage hike, also produced side effects, including a drop in jobs for the socially vulnerable and increasing businesses’ burdens of having to hire more people.

With such problems, the government is discussing supplementary measures, including extending the grace period for this system to help companies smoothly apply the change and lengthening the flexible overtime working hour system.

Photo : Yonhap News, KBS News

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