July 2, 2018
On July 2nd (Mon.), Employment and Labor Minister Kim Young-joo visited Hanwha Corporation’s Headquarters in Seoul where she talked with its employer and worker representatives about the implementation of the reduced working hours. She encouraged employees to leave work on time.
Minister Kim said, “Today is the very first day to start the 52-hour workweek. It is very meaningful for me to meet with the representatives of the employers and workers and leave the work altogether on time.”
Earlier at the meeting with the CEO and employees of the Defense Division of Hanwha Corporation, the Minister asked both labor and management to pool their wisdom to ensure a soft landing of shorter working hours in the workplace. She also explained, “Despite the many concerns raised when we introduced the 40-hour workweek* in 2004, we successfully landed it across workplaces. With labor-management cooperation at the workplace level coupled with government support, the 52-hour workweek** will also be able to take hold smoothly without grave difficulty.”
* The 40-hour workweek in 2004: max. 40 hours of work (plus 12 hours of overtime) per week was permitted and a week was deemed to be from Monday to Friday (additional 16 hours on weekend or holidays were permitted).
** The 52-hour workweek in 2018: max. 52 hours of work (including 12 hours of overtime) per week is permitted and a week is deemed to be from Monday to Sunday.
Emphasizing that reducing working hours would bring positive changes, Minister Kim joined employees leaving work at six o’clock, saying “I am getting off work on time today, too.”
MOEL will closely monitor workplaces’ implementation status mainly through the Comprehensive Monitoring Team set up in each of its 47 local offices nationwide to ensure that shorter working hours can lead to better quality of life for workers and higher productivity for companies. Meanwhile, the Ministry will actively help companies experiencing difficulties in reducing working hours by providing consulting services and other supports.