S. Korea mulling measures to supplement 52-hour workweek system for smaller firms
SEOUL-- South Korea is considering measures to soften the landing of a 52-hour workweek system for smaller firms, including the application of a grace period, a presidential official said Sunday.
Starting next year, the implementation of the workweek scheme will be expanded to companies with 50 to 299 employees. It was first adopted for large companies in July last year.
For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the shorter workweek system could be a financial burden amid an economic slowdown.
Hwang Deok-soon, senior presidential secretary for job creation, said the government will inevitably have to draw up backup measures for the soft landing of the system if the legislative process to supplement the 52-hour workweek system does not go smoothly.
"The government applied a grace period for companies with more than 300 workers in implementing the workweek system. For smaller firms subject to implementation from next year, difficulties will be bigger than those of large firms," Hwang told a press briefing.
A bill on a flexible worktime system has been pending at the National Assembly for months amid partisan tensions.
The scheme calls for adjusting working hours to 52 hours on average within a certain period by allowing workers to work longer when busy and later reduce their working hours with a break.
Previously, the unit period was three months, but the social dialogue council decided in February to extend the limit to six months.
Hwang said the government would come up with the supplementary measures for SMEs after looking at the legislative process by early November.
Source: Yonhap News Agency