Average work hours in South Korea decreased 0.5 percent last year as the country enforced a shorter workweek system, government data showed Thursday.
According to the Ministry of Employment and Labor's survey, the average South Korean employee worked 1,957 hours in 2019, 10 hours less than the previous year.
The figure for companies hiring at least five workers was 1,978, a 0.4 percent decrease from 2018.
The reduction came despite the fact that 2019 had two more working days than 2018.
The government aims to reduce the nation's yearly average work hours to fewer than 1,800. South Korea has very long working hours compared with the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The government implemented a 52-hour workweek system for companies with 300 or more employees in earnest in March last year, when a grace period ended for the new rule, which cut the maximum weekly work hours to 52 from 68.
The new workweek system has expanded this year to companies who have between 50 and 299 workers but with a one-year grace period.
The ministry data also showed average work hours per month came to 163.1 last year, down 0.5 percent from the previous year. For companies with fewer than 300 employees, the figure was 163 hours, 0.7 percent lower than 2018. For companies with 300 or more employees, it was 164.1, up 0.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the average monthly wage per worker last year was 3.49 million won ($2,868), up 3.4 percent from the previous year.
The figure increased 4 percent to 3.139 million won for companies with fewer than 300 employees and 1 percent to 5.356 million won for companies with 300 or more employees. (Yonhap)