This country wanted a 69-hour work week. Millennials and generation Z had other ideas

March 19, 2023 at 01:56

Seoul, South Korea CNN —Shorter work weeks to boost employee mental health and productivity may be catching on in some places around the world, but at least one country appears to have missed the memo.
The South Korean government was this week forced to rethink a plan that would have raised its cap on working hours to 69 per week, up from the current limit of 52, after sparking a backlash among millennials and generation Z workers.
Yet the government had backed the plan to increase the cap following pressure from business groups seeking a boost in productivity – until, that is, it ran into vociferous opposition from the younger generation and labor unions.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s senior secretary said Wednesday the government would take a new “direction” after listening to public opinion and said it was committed to protecting the rights and interests of millennial, generation Z and non-union workers.
Raising the cap had been seen as a way of addressing the looming labor shortage the country faces due to its dwindling fertility rate, which is the world’s lowest, and its aging population.
The current law limits the work week to 40 hours plus up to 12 hours of compensated overtime – though in reality, critics say, many workers find themselves under pressure to work longer.
“My own father works excessively every week and there is no boundary between work and life,” he said.
South Korean people will (remain) vulnerable to deadly overtime work.”Pedestrians in downtown Seoul.
Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty ImagesAccording to the OECD, South Koreans worked an average 1,915 hours in 2021, far above the OECD average of 1,716 and the American average of 1,767.
“It is crucial for the government (and companies) to address pressing issues that are already affecting lives,” Shim said.
Even when the limit was cut to 52 hours, cases of “gwarosa” continued to make the headlines.
In 2020, labor unions said 14 delivery workers had died due to overwork, having sacrificed their mental health and well-being to keep the country going during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Latest News

Stock Quotes for Arlington

Weather Forecast for Arlington