Posted 16 марта 09:26
Published 16 марта 09:26
Modified 16 марта 09:47
Updated 16 марта 09:47
The South Korean government has abandoned plans to increase working hours after young residents of the country reacted extremely negatively to them, The Guardian reports. The maximum possible number of working hours in South Korea is 52: 40 hours of normal work plus 12 hours of overtime. After business representatives complained that it interferes with the deadlines for work, the authorities intended to increase the working week to 69 hours.
However, the plans of President Yoon Seok-young faced rejection from both his political opponents and the public. The Liberal Democratic Party said it would use its majority in the National Assembly to block the bill. Millennials and representatives of Generation Z protested. Trade union leaders expressed their disagreement, saying that South Korea is already known for its harsh demands on the working culture, and forcing to work even more will have a bad effect on the record low birth rate in the country. "This will make it possible to legalize work from 9 am to midnight for five consecutive days. Health and the need for rest are not taken into account at all," the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions said in a statement.
The protesters also drew the attention of the authorities to the fact that other major world economies are going in the opposite direction: in many countries, a four-day working week has been tested, and the results show that with a decrease in working hours, labor productivity and people's well-being are higher. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in 2021, South Koreans spent an average of 1915 hours at work – this is 199 hours more than the average for the organization, and 566 hours more than they work in Germany.
As a result, the protests forced President Yoon Seok-young to order a review of the measure and "communicate better with the public, especially with Generation Z and millennials", his spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said.