World South Korean government proposes increase in work week to 69 hours from 52

tom_mai78101

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Seoul — The administration of South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol wants to allow people to work up to 69 hours a week — up from the current 52 — and bank overtime hours in exchange for time off, a plan it hopes will promote family growth alongside productivity.

The government says the plan, set to be announced next month, will provide more flexibility in the labour market. Officials say people would work less as a whole, encouraging them to have families and shore up a fertility rate that is projected to hit a global-low 0.7 in 2024.

It would supersede a 2018 law that limited the work week to 52 hours — 40 hours of regular work plus 12 hours of overtime. The ministry of employment and labor said in a statement that law had fallen behind the times.

“If you are working at ice cream factories for example, you can work overtime seasonally, then save the hours of work and use later to go on a longer holiday,” the ministry said of the reform.

The proposal would allow employers and workers to agree on whether to count overtime by the week, with 12 hours allowed; the month, with 52 hours allowed; the quarter, with 140 hours allowed; a half year, with 250 hours; or a full year, with 440 hours of overtime allowed.

For counting periods of a month or longer, up to 29 hours a week of overtime would be allowed, for a total of 69 work hours in one week. Overtime could be exchanged later for time off at a rate that has not been announced.

 
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