Samsung and SK Group’s six-day week for execs raises concerns

Samsung and SK Group’s imposition of a six-day workweek for executives has sparked concern over employee wellbeing and corporate culture norms.
By: | April 22, 2024

Samsung and SK Group are under fire for implementing a six-day workweek for their executives, a move criticised for its potential negative impact on morale and adherence to outdated labour standards. The decision has drawn scepticism from industry insiders and experts, who question its compatibility with contemporary workplace norms.

Executives at Samsung Group’s key affiliates, including Samsung Electronics, Samsung SDI, and Samsung SDS, are now required to work an additional day, either on Saturday or Sunday. While framed as a measure to enhance risk management amidst global economic uncertainties, the initiative has raised concerns about its broader implications for employee wellbeing.

An official from a conglomerate expressed concern, stating, “Even if employees do not work for six days, they will feel a sense of pressure and fatigue from the introduction of the six-day workweek for executives. This goes against the global labour paradigm, and it also remains doubtful as to whether such an extra-work system will be able to generate tangible outcomes.”

SK Group has similarly reinstated biweekly Saturday meetings for top executives from its affiliates, a practice abandoned for 24 years since the adoption of the five-day workweek in 2000. Combined with Samsung’s decision, this move has raised questions about the direction of corporate culture and working conditions.

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Another official from a major organisation warned that Samsung and SK Group’s action may set a precedent for other organisations to follow suit, exacerbating pressures on employees and undermining efforts to promote work-life balance.  

“As executives are mapping out the roadmap of each division, non-executive level officials will be under more pressure to work harder, which many young employees consider an outdated work style. It is doubtful whether the six-day workweek by executives will help improve the productivity of any organisations,” the official said, reported The Korea Times.