All Workers Must Be Consulted on Flexible Working Week

      March 17, 2023 13:09

      President Yoon Suk-yeol has backtracked on a plan to extend the cap on the working week to 69 at busy times and make up for overtime at quieter period after realizing that working more than 60 hours a week cannot be reasonably expected of people. The plan was made because a significant number of employers complained that the 12-hour cap on weekly overtime of a total of 52 hours was not enough, and some workers wanted to work more overtime to earn money. Flexible hours are essential in certain businesses, from game developers to air conditioner manufacturers, which see workloads increase dramatically at certain times of the year. But when the Ministry of Employment and Labor proposed extending the overtime cap to 29 hours a week at busy times, workers protested, saying they did not trust their employer to compensate them with extended leave. The plan would also fly in the face of the labor law, which sets 64 hours of labor a week as the Maginot Line in determining overwork.
      Yoon asked officials to listen carefully to the opinions of the younger generation to come up with a better plan. But working hours affect everyone, from working mothers in their 30s and 40s to older workers nearing retirement, and needs may vary depending on the type of work involved. 
      In fact the government should listen to the opinions of everyone, bearing in mind that if people want to work dramatically varying hours they should be able to do so. It is only proper to ensure that policies that have a major impact on the lifestyles of the public are thoroughly examined before implementation. Trial runs are needed to see how and if the changes will work in practice. If they fail, the government should scrap them without hesitation.

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