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Dong-A Socio Group fosters work-life balance

Oct 27,2017
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Employees at Dong-A Socio Group hold up cards with the words “work-life balance” and “Dong-A Socio Group, where employees are happy.” [DONG-A SOCIO GROUP]
In last year’s OECD Better Life Index, Korea ranked 28th among 38 countries. In work-life balance, Korea placed 36th, followed by Mexico at 37th and Turkey at 38th. About 23 percent of Koreans worked more than 50 hours a week, a figure that’s about 10 percentage points higher than the OECD average.

With the heightened interest in quality of life, Dong-A Socio Group, which includes Dong-A Socio Holdings, Dong-A ST and Dong-A Pharmaceutical, is conducting diverse welfare programs for its employees to help them maintain a good work-life balance while enjoying work at the company.

Every year, employees at Dong-A Socio Group can plan their holidays well in advance, with the company announcing its holiday schedule at the beginning of each year. This year, the company announced its summer vacation plan and special holidays - on May 2, May 4 and Oct. 2 - at the start of the year, allowing employees to save money by booking flights and accommodations in advance.

Dong-A Socio Group also gives each employee five “refresh vacation” days that can be used all at once or spread across the year. The purpose is to allow workers to rejuvenate themselves and create a desirable vacation culture. Dong-A Socio Group encourages workers to use refresh vacation days by requesting plans at the beginning of the year. In the third quarter, employees receive a notice on how many refresh vacation days they have left.

In addition to refresh vacation days, Dong-A Socio Group provides staff with 22 days of annual paid holiday, more than the OECD average of 20.6 days. It is also much higher than what the average Korean receives, 15.1 days.

Every third Friday of the month is a special day for employees at Dong-A Socio Group. They are allowed to wear jeans in the office and leave work an hour earlier than usual as part of the company’s “Casual Day” and “Family Day” initiative.

The goal of Casual Day is to create a more liberal and creative corporate culture. Even executives come into work in jeans and sneakers.

Family Day encourages employees to spend more time with their family and refrain from engaging in activities like overtime and company get-togethers. Every third Friday, a company-wide announcement is broadcast to encourage people to leave the office early.

Along with Family Day, Dong-A Socio Group runs a flower delivery service called “The Day When Love Blossoms,” where parents, children and spouses can receive flowers from the company during special anniversaries and birthdays.

During summer vacations, children of Dong-A employees can visit the research centers of Dong-A ST and the Dong-A Pharmaceutical factory in Cheonan, South Chungcheong, to learn more about their parents’ company.

Aside from these programs, Dong-A Socio Group is trying to increase worker satisfaction through practical welfare. To reduce the financial burden of education, the company subsidizes families’ education expenses through high school and university. For housing, the company offers a low-interest loan of up to 20 million won ($17,800).

BY YEE JAE-EUN [yee.jaeeun@joongang.co.kr]