• UPDATE : 2020.7.10 금 08:00
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[labor news] Work ban on weekly holidays to slash work hours under discussion
▲ Unionized workers of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions(FKTU) shout slogans with the signs to halt death from overwork and cut work hours in a rally organized in September last year in front of the National Assembly. (Jeong Ki-hoon/Korea Daily Labor News)

The government and ruling Democratic Party are mulling over the measures to ban work on weekly holidays and otherwise penalize the law violation with fine or imprisonment in relation to the reduction of work hours. In such cases like urgent managerial needs or maintenance of public order in an unavoidable circumstance, time off in lieu shall be provided within the following two weeks. It is interpreted that the government and ruling party move to ensure workers the right to rest and at the same time remove the ongoing controversy over the holiday-overtime double premium allowance.

According to the Article 55 of the Labor Standards Act, an employer shall allow a worker one or more paid holiday per week(weekly holidays) on the average and shall pay an additional premium of 50 percent of the worker's ordinary wage for holiday work.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor came up with a proposal to implement the 52-hour work week(including 12 hours of extended work) in phases according to the employment size of the enterprises: from August 2018 for the enterprises with more than 300 employees; from January 2020 for the enterprises with 50 to 299 employees; from July 2021 for the enterprises with 5 to 49 employees, which is much the same as agreed in November last year by the executive secretaries of the political parties in the Environment and Labor Committee of the National Assembly. The work ban on weekly holidays is proposed to commence from July 2021, when the full phase of 52-hour work week gets under way.

Rep. Woo Won-shik, floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party is scheduled on Feb. 13 to meet with Kim Ju-young, president of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions(FKTU) and Kim Myung-hwan, president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) to discuss the ways and measures to cut work hours.

reported by Kim Hak-tae
translated by Kim Sung-jin

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