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Citizens for Justice and Peace

South Korea reduces 68-hour workweek

09, Mar 2018 | CJP Team

South Korea’s National Assembly has passed a law reducing the maximum weekly work hours from 68 to 52, the Guardian reported. The shorter workweek was one of President Moon Jae-in’s campaign promises; he also helped establish a 16% increase in the country’s minimum wage this year. The law was considered necessary to better living standards, generate more jobs, and is also intended at upping South Korea’s birth rate, which dipped to record lows in 2017. Chung Hyun-back, the country’s gender and family minister, has described its work hours as “inhumanely long” and said they contributed to the country’s ageing population. When considering members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which comprises mostly developed nations, South Korea has some of longest work hours. Its citizens work around 400 more hours annually compared to those in Australia and the United Kingdom, but still have similar average incomes. Under the new law, the workweek will be 40 regular hours and 12 overtime hours. Those under 18 years of age will only be permitted to work 35 hours every week, instead of 40, similar to France’s average workweek.  

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