President Moon Jae-in’s de facto transition team is considering designating Oct. 2 as a temporary holiday to allow 10 consecutive days of holidays, its chief official said Thursday.
In a local radio interview, Rep. Kim Jin-pyo, who chairs the State Affairs Advisory Committee, said his panel is “almost set” on the holiday plan.
Rep. Kim Jin-pyo (center) (Yonhap)
“Oct. 2 falls between a weekend and Chuseok holidays, and we think it is important to allow workers to fully rest,” Rep. Kim of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea said.
The equivalent of Thanksgiving in the West, the three-day Chuseok holiday takes place from Oct. 3 to 5 this year. Since Oct. 3 is National Foundation Day, an official holiday, the following workday, Oct. 6, Friday, has automatically been designated as a substitute holiday. The following Monday, Oct. 9, is also a holiday, Hangeul Day.
If Oct. 2, which is a Monday, is added, the vacation period would extend to 10 days, including two weekends.
“Koreans are working the longest hours in the world. We plan to expand on the substitute holiday system as well, to protect citizens’ right to rest,” the chief said. The substitute holiday system adds an extra holiday if a national holiday falls on a weekend.
Rep. Kim added that the extra holiday would also boost domestic consumption.
The designation of the holiday only applies to public institutes, as the government cannot “force” private institutes and businesses to follow suit. But the government’s decision would likely affect the private sector, as has been the case in the past, he explained.
During his campaign, President Moon Jae-in stressed the importance of resting, saying good rest is a factor deciding “national competency.”
Moon also vowed to revise related laws to give public servants at least 12 days of summer holidays and to review extending paid leave from the current level of 15 to 20 days per year.
Personally, he plans to use all of his annual paid leave, the president has said.
A government report showed that one extra holiday could bring an economic benefit of 19 trillion won ($16.4 billion) and 80,000 new jobs.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)