South Korea plans to increase working hours to 69 hours per week

South Korea plans to increase working hours to 69 hours per week

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Seoul skyscrapers. SeanPavonePhoto /

President Yoon Seok-yul wants to adjust the current weekly limit of 52 hours according to the needs of each company. In return, South Korean workers will get more time off.

Two countries, two continents, two visions of the world of work. While France is committed to a year-on-year pension reform that provides for a gradual increase in the retirement age to 64, South Korea wants a real boost to the weekly length of maximum working time for its companies. If France is divided on the regular 35 hours barbed file, which has been enforced since 2000, the South Korean government intends to allow its population to work up to 69 hours per week, related korea times, It is almost twice as long as the hexagonal limit. In detail, President Yoon Seok-yul’s labor market reform plans to raise the current limit, which is 52 hours per week.

If the country’s legal weekly period is only 40 hours, workers can work up to 12 hours of overtime. The framework, set out in 2018 by former President Moon Jae-in, aims to prevent potential overwork among South Koreans, who have a different relationship to work than Westerners. In view of the critical labor requirements, the present Executive would like to give opportunity to the companies to increase the pace of work as per their order book and their activity. In other words, South Korea wants an a la carte system where each structure will adapt its working hours according to demand.

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At most, therefore, South Koreans would be able to work an additional 29 hours per week. A measure that would, in turn, pave the way for more holidays in the year at more sparse periods. It would then be a question of converting these overtime hours into vacation. Beyond the desired revival of productivity by revising the profitability of companies, the government’s claimed objective is clear: to revive the country’s birth rate. The fertility rate will also reach 0.7 children per woman in 2024; Lowest number in the world. And this, while the population is aging and the workforce is expected to decline in the coming years.

union sling

While the reform is to be officially presented next month, the Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor has detailed the philosophy of the latter: “For example, if you work in ice cream factories, you can work overtime seasonally and then save the work hours and use them later to go on vacation.”

While the proposal was received favorably in business circles, it was strongly condemned by the opposition and the main trade unions. MP Park Yong-jin called the reform a “Shortcut to population extinction”. According to OECD data, 18% of Koreans will already be working more than 50 hours a week in 2021.