South Korea’s government urged to delay implementing longer work week

Small businesses in the country have asked for more time to prepare for the 52-hour work week, which is set to be implemented next month.
By: | June 16, 2021

The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Korea Enterprises Federation (KEF) have called on the government to grant businesses with a staff strength of fewer than 50 people one more year in grace period to prepare for the 52-hour work week amid the prolonged fallout from the pandemic. 

In a joint statement, KCCI and KEF said, “The government should give them more time to adapt to the shortened workweek as it did to large conglomerates and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that hire more than 50 people.” 

The 52-hour workweek policy was designed to cap the average working hours at 52 per week in the country known for its notorious long working hours. 

The regulation was implemented in large companies with 300 or more staff since July 2018. 

For SMEs, it was initially set to take effect in 2019, but was postponed for one year amid financial woes experienced by smaller companies due to the economic slowdown. 

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South Korea introduced the law to reduce the maximum number of work hours per week from 68 to 52 in 2018, with workers allowed to work 40 hours and an additional 12 hours of overtime, according to The Korea Herald.