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South Korea – Government reduces maximum work week from 68 hours to 52

06 March 2018

South Korea’s parliament passed a bill last week to reduce the maximum weekly work hours to 52 from 68 in an effort to improve quality of life and boost employment.

The National Assembly, the national legislature of South Korea, passed the law, which will come into force in July and will apply to large companies before being rolled out to smaller businesses, reports The Guardian.

The reduction in the work hours was a campaign promise made by President Moon Jae-in which aimed to improve quality of life, create more jobs and boost South Korea’s declining birth rate.

The new South Korean work week will consist of 40 normal hours and an additional 12 hours of overtime.

The Korea Herald reports that some companies have already reduced working hours. Meanwhile, some businesses have opposed the new law and have not moved to increase their workforces.

The Korean Economic Research Institute stated that it could cost businesses an additional SKW 12 trillion (USD 11.1 billion) a year to maintain the same levels of production as the previous work week.

According to OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) figures, South Korea worked an average 2,069 hours in 2016, more than any country except Mexico and Costa Rica.

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