More work flexibility called for in South Korean workplace

The Federation of Korean Industries has urged employers to provide more work flexibility to employees.
By: | August 8, 2022

The report also called on companies to give their employees the option to work more when they need to and take longer breaks in return.

The statutory working hours in South Korea are eight hours per day and 40 hours per week, unlike the US and UK, which regulate only weekly working hours. Germany only regulates daily working hours, not weekly.

As for overtime work, South Korean law strictly limits working hours per week. The US, however, has no limits on overtime, while Japan and France have monthly or annual caps, allowing companies to cope with temporarily high workloads.

Workers in South Korea are paid 50% more for overtime, compared to regular pay per hour, while those in Japan and France get between 25% and 50% more. In Germany and the UK, overtime pay is set by agreement between labour and management.

As for flexible or selective working hours, which can be used when work is concentrated for certain periods, South Korea allows workers to opt for this system for up to six months. The US, Japan, Germany and UK allow it for up to a year, and France for up to three years.

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South Korea’s punishment for violators of working hour rules – jail time of up to two years and a fine of up to 20 million won (US$15,320) – is also tougher than that of the five countries, according to The Korea Herald.