South Korea: possible reform on the 52-hour week

South Korea: possible reform on the 52-hour week


The South Korean government finds that the current legal maximum of 52 hours per week does not meet the needs of businesses. 

In South Korea , working time is currently set at 52 hours per week: 40 legal hours to which 12 additional hours may be added. It was a 2018 law that introduced this ceiling to prevent employees from overworking.

However, the current Korean president, Yoon Suk-yeol, wants to change this rule, which he considers unsuitable. given the labor needs of different industries, especially to cope with workloads when demand is high or during peak seasons,” said The Korea Times newspaper. The Korean government therefore wishes to reform this weekly working time so that it can comply with the needs of different companies.

According to Le Figaro, which relays this reform project, employees could thus achieve up to 29 additional hours of work per week, i.e. a total weekly duration of 69 hours. In return, employees could benefit from more holidays during the year, during slower periods.

But the Korean government could well encounter some difficulties in its approach, because the workers' coordination groups have clearly expressed their opposition to these new political proposals, underlines The Korea Times.

Thus, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions published a statement in which it describes this proposal as a “retrogressive revision of the law who would leave the decision on wages and working hours to employers.”

– With information from Ouest France