More South Korean employees want to work shorter hours

77.8% of salaried workers are in favour of the 52-hour workweek, a policy launched in 2018 to reduce long working hours.
By: | December 30, 2021

According to a labour ministry survey of 1,300 people, 71% said the reduction of the maximum weekly working hours to 52 from 68 was a good decision. Among wage-earning respondents, 77.8% support the shorter workweek.

The survey also showed that 88% of workers perceive that the shorter workweek has been implemented well at their workplaces.

The reasons for the long work hours include: a “heavy workload” (46.4%), followed by “a way to earn an adequate income” (27.8%), an “inefficient work process” (20.1%) and “personal achievements and satisfaction” (3.6%).

About 70.3% of respondents preferred to leave work on time and enjoy personal time, while 28.7% said they are in favour of getting paid more for working longer hours.

After the implementation of the 52-hour workweek system, nearly 60% of respondents said their quality of life has not changed, while 33.2% said their lives have gotten better.

The 52-hour workweek system was enforced under a revision to the Labor Standards Act in July 2018 starting with firms with 300 or more employees.

Businesses with 50 to 299 employees came under the system from January 2020, while smaller businesses with five to 49 employees were included in the system from July 2021.

READ: Majority of South Koreans harbour pessimistic job outlooks

South Korea has among the longest working hours among the member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the shorter workweek system was adopted to try to relieve the burden on workers, according to Yonhap.