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SKT introduces flexible time, 80-hour fortnight

Jan 31,2018
Korea’s largest mobile carrier SK Telecom has decided to adopt flexible working hours to enhance employees’ work-life balance, the company said Tuesday.

SK Telecom employees can now freely plan their daily work schedules as long as they work a total of 80 hours every two weeks.

For instance, if an employee tends to have a higher work load at the end of each month, they could work only 30 hours in the third week and 50 hours in the fourth week. The new system also enables workers to take a day off and work four days a week to pursue other activities such as watching sports, taking a cooking class or visiting family - as long as they are still able to work 80 hours over two weeks.

The mobile carrier plans to fully implement the system from the second quarter of this year.

The move comes as the Moon Jae-in administration has been stressing the need to improve the work-life balance of employees by reducing working hours.

Under the current law, the maximum number of working hours per week is 68, but the government is taking legislative steps to slash it to 52. If a bill on lower working hours passes the National Assembly, companies with 300 or more employees will be subject to new rules starting in July.

Affiliated chipmaker SK Hynix introduced a 52-hour workweek just last week following moves by Samsung Electronics, which introduced a 52-hour workweek earlier last year, and retail giant Shinsegae, which cut working hours to as little as 35 hours per week at its department stores and discount hypermarket Emart chains from the beginning of this year.

SK Telecom decided to entrust the working hour adjustments to its workers to avoid employees being unable to balance their individual workloads as they are forced to comply with the new hours, according to the company.

“Rather than controlling working hours from a managerial perspective, we decided to transform employees’ life at work by allowing them to flexibly change their schedules based on their needs,” the company said in statement. “Flexible working hours also go well with the nature of the tasks given from information communications technology companies like us.”


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]