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52-hour workweek hits more industries today

July 01,2019
Additional industries, including bus, financial and broadcasting firms, will be required to implement the 52-hour workweek rule starting next month, the labor ministry said Sunday.

In July 2018, the shorter workweek went into effect for companies with more than 300 employees, but 21 industries, including regular-route bus services, broadcasting, advertising, education services and finance, were given a one-year grace period.

The implementation of the law in those sectors starting next month is expected to affect more than 1.06 million workers at around 1,050 companies, according to the Minister of Employment and Labor.

In order for those firms to better prepare for the changing working conditions, however, the government decided to extend another three-month grace period in the bus and other “unprepared” sectors.

In May, unionized drivers at about 200 bus companies nationwide threatened to launch a strike over income reductions under the shorter workweek before reaching wage deals with their management.

Workplaces seeking to extend the statutory flextime under the 52-hour workweek system to minimize its side effects will also be given a grace period until the revision of the relevant labor law, the minister said.

The government vowed “to extend full support” for companies with 50 to 299 employees that will be obliged to introduce the 52-hour workweek next January, according to Labor Minister Lee Jae-kap.

The law stipulates that the country’s maximum weekly working hours shall be reduced to 40, plus 12 hours of overtime, per week from 68.

The goal is to reduce chronically long working hours to help citizens better strike a balance between their work and life, and stimulate consumption.

Yonhap