According to a study conducted by the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, employees in Korea took an average of 8.6 days off, or 60.6 percent of the average 14.2 days per year of guaranteed annual leave in 2013.
The current Labor Standards Act in Korea stipulates that employees who work 80 percent or more of the year should receive 15 days of paid leave.
Another survey by global tourism agency Expedia found that South Korean workers have used the least vacation days for six years in a row among 28 countries surveyed last year. The world’s average number of used paid vacation days is 20, while Korea is the only country under 10 days, according to the data.
The findings also showed that 48 percent of Korean workers answered that a tight work schedule and lack of substitute workers were reasons for not using up all their annual leave.
“Korean workers have a very long working time. But they can’t use vacations properly and their leisure time is relatively low, causing a serious imbalance of work and leisure,” said Kim Ji-hak, a researcher at the KCTI.
He added that if workers used all of the statutory annual leave, the country may create a considerable number of jobs and it could have a greater economic ripple effect.
By Byun Hee-jin (firstname.lastname@example.org)