Tags: south korea | 68 hour | work | week | cut

South Korea 68-Hour Work Week Slashed to 52

South Korea 68-Hour Work Week Slashed to 52

A waiter carries food from a kitchen to a table across the street in Abai Village on February 17, 2018 in Sokcho, South Korea. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 01 March 2018 06:52 AM

South Korea's 68-hour work week was cut to 52 hours by the country's National Assembly Wednesday as President Moon Jae-in fulfilled a major campaign promise.

Moon promised that shrinking South Korea's long work week would help improve the quality of life for residents while creating more jobs, but some in the business community think the new restrictions on maximum weekly work hours will drive up their cost, The Korea Times reported.

The new work week, consisting of 40 regular work hours and 12 overtime hours, will go into effect in July and could cost businesses $11 billion more annually as they try and keep up the same production levels, the Korean Economic Research Institute found in a study cited by The Guardian.

Among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, South Korea had nearly the longest weekly work hours, trailing only Mexico, The Guardian reported. That group does not include China or India, where workers tend also to work longer hours, the newspaper stated.

The new work rules will affect businesses with more than 300 workers and will be implemented in July 2021 for businesses with less than 50 employees, the Korea Times reported.

"Shorter working hours are necessary for the sake of happiness, but it needs to be discussed along with ways to improve labor productivity," Kim Tai-gi, a professor of economics at Dankook University in Jukjeon, South Korea, told The Independent in December when lawmakers debated the measure.

"Without better productivity, it would have side effects like a decline in income for workers and an increased cost burden for employers," he continued.

The measure will probably affect manufacturing and transportation industries the most because overtime work has become the norm, according to The Korea Times. A 2012 study by the country's labor ministry revealed that South Korean manufacturing employees worked an average 28.1 overtime hours per month.

"Most large businesses have been preparing for shorter working hours since last year when discussions gained momentum," a ministry official told The Korea Times. "The government will prepare supportive measures for small businesses that might face difficulties due to the revision."

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South Korea's 68-hour work week was cut to 52 hours by the country's National Assembly Wednesday as President Moon Jae-in fulfilled a major campaign promise.
south korea, 68 hour, work, week, cut
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2018-52-01
Thursday, 01 March 2018 06:52 AM
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