The Korea Herald


Govt. overhauls 52-hour workweek system to provide more flexibility

By Yonhap

Published : March 6, 2023 - 10:49

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Labor Minister Lee Jeong-sik talks to reporters on Monday regarding work-hour reform (Yonhap) Labor Minister Lee Jeong-sik talks to reporters on Monday regarding work-hour reform (Yonhap)

The government announced a set of measures on Monday to reform the controversial 52-hour workweek system by giving more flexibility and choice in work hours.

Under the system introduced in 2018, employers must limit overtime work to 12 hours per week to ensure the total number of hours worked remains at 52.

The revision, however, will allow companies to manage overtime not only weekly but on a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or yearly basis so that employers can choose more hours during weeks with heavy workloads and fewer hours during weeks with less work.

The revision also must guarantee a consecutive rest period of 11 hours between each working day.

This will enable companies to increase the maximum weekly work hours to 69 while still keeping the average work hours within the 52-hour limit.

The government will also adopt a new sabbatical month system in which a worker can save overtime work hours as paid leave days, so that they can be used consecutively with annual paid leave days.

The decision for such flexibility should be adopted on an agreement between the labor and the management of each company,

"(The plan) will benefit workers with various working hour systems, such as a four-day workweek and a sabbatical month, while help companies in managing their workforce," Labor Minister Lee Jeong-sik told a press briefing.

The change comes at the request of businesses that have complained of difficulties in meeting deadlines due to the 52-hour workweek.

The public will have 40 days to submit their opinions about the revisions before they are sent to the National Assembly for approval in June-July.

The revision, however, is strongly opposed by the main opposition Democratic Party and the minor opposition Justice Party, which hold a majority. (Yonhap)