Korean Working Hours Still Less Flexible Than Elsewhere

Korean companies have more rigid working hours than other countries. In a survey of 1,000 companies in Korea with at least five employees by the Korean Women's Development Institute in July and August last year, only 125 or 12.5 percent said they use a flexible schedule that allows staff to work part-time.

Some 8.8 percent operate flexi-time that allows staff to work longer hours in peak season and fewer in low season.

A mere 7.6 percent let staff adjust the time they come to work and leave. And one or two percent operate other types of flexible schedules that cater for four-day work weeks, working from home, and discretionary work systems.

The difference with the EU is pronounced. Eighty percent of companies studied in Sweden have part-time staff, six times more than Korea’s 12.5 percent, and in Germany and the U.K. the proportions were 79 and 75 percent.

Sixty-five percent of companies in the U.K. employ alternative work schedules, allowing staff to choose when they come to work and leave as long as they stick to the daily working hours. The figures were 62 percent for Swedish firms and 51 percent for German firms.

The smaller the firm, the less likely it is to permit any flexibility, even though job satisfaction and efficiency tend to increase when some flexibility is possible.

Among the companies that employ some flexibility, 94.3 percent said they are happy with their human resources management, and 96.6 percent replied that it increases work efficiency.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 21, 2014 08:22 KST