Shortened Work Hours Could Mean Decline in Wages

  • By Park Yu-yeon

    March 14, 2018 13:47

    A shorter working week the government is planning for the world's second most exhausted workforce would lead to an 11.5 percent drop in monthly income on average, the National Assembly Budget Office said in a report on Tuesday.

    Caps on overtime and the reduction of legal working hours from a world-beating 68 to 52 hours could cost a worker up to W377,000 a month, it said (US$1=W1,067).

    It remains to be seen whether workers will accept the tradeoff amid rumblings from some labor unions that it is unfair to deprive their members of the opportunity to work as long as they want.

    But the report only calculated the decline in overtime, hourly and extra pay based on the assumption that they work every last hour they legally could. On the plus side, the report also predicts that the shortened hours would lead to increased hiring of staff.

    Businesses could see a total of 6.48 million decreased labor hours supposing they work their staff to limit, which would require a maximum 160,000 more workers to be hired.

    "The increased hiring prospects are welcome, but measures should be taken to deal with the decline in wages," it said. 

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