The government will suspend the enforcement of a bill to reduce the workweek for up to two years even if it wins parliamentary approval this year, the labor minister said Wednesday.
Last year, the government proposed a bill that would cut the maximum weekly working hours, including overtime and holiday work, to 52 hours from the current 68 hours.
The bill is aimed at protecting employees from long working hours and improve the nation's economy through job sharing. South Korea has one of the world's longest working hours.
With the bill expected to pass in the National Assembly as early as in April, the government is nearing an agreement with the ruling Saenuri Party to suspend enforcing the bill for up to two years from parliamentary approval to lessen financial burdens on companies.
"If we reduce the legally permitted working hours at once, this would immediately trigger cost, manpower and other problems," Phang Ha-nam, minister of employment and labor, said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.
"We, therefore, will suspend the enforcement for about two years and gradually put them into force later."
The bill, in that case, will go into effect in 2016 and be applied to all companies across the country in 2022 if the authorities decide to enforce it in six steps depending on the size of companies, according to ministry officials. (Yonhap)