SEOUL- Employees in one of the most overworked countries in Asia are about to get a break after South Korea passed a bill to reduce the typical work week in an effort to improve quality of life and boost employment.
South Korea’s National Assembly overwhelmingly passed the law which cut the maximum weekly work hours to 52, down from 68. The law will come into force in July and will apply to large companies before being rolled out to smaller businesses.
This cut was a campaign promise by President Moon Jae-in, who also secured a 16% increase in the minimum wage this year.
The law was faced with opposition from businesses but was seen as necessary to improve living standards, create more jobs and boost productivity. It is also aimed at increasing the country’s birth rate, which hit record lows last year.
The new work week will consist of 40 normal hours and an additional 12 hours of overtime. This could cost businesses an additional $11-billion a year to maintain the same levels of productivity, that is according to a study by the Korean Economic Research Institute.
The new law reduced the number of exempted businesses from 26 to five, including healthcare and transport. People under the age of 18 will only be able to work 35 hours per week, down from 40, equivalent to a typical week in France.
Photo Credit- CNN
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