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73% of Korean workers say they have leftover leave

3 in 5 workers say they won't be able to use remaining vacation time before it expires at the end of the year

With less than a month remaining until the end of the calendar year, more than 70 percent of South Korean office workers appear to still have unused annual paid leave, a survey showed Tuesday.

Online recruiting company JobKorea surveyed 1,451 employees and found that merely 27 percent of respondents had used up all of their annual leave.


Among the other 1,065 respondents with remaining annual leave, 61 percent said they would not be able to use the rest of their annual vacation time. 

By position, only 22 percent of workers at management level or higher had used all of their annual vacation. The figure was lower than the average mark. 

The current Labor Standards Act in Korea stipulates that employees who work 80 percent or more of the year receive 15 days of paid leave. However, the findings showed the average remaining annual paid vacation was 4.9 days -- 5.6 days for management or higher, 5.5 days at the assistant management level and 4.6 days for regular staff.


Reasons for unused statutory annual leave also varied, depending on position. The tally showed 41 percent and 37 percent of regular staff workers and assistant management-level workers, respectively, answered “using annual leave is like walking on eggshells,” while 37 percent of workers in higher positions said “there was too much work to do.”

By Jie Ye-eun (