South Korea proposes raising 52-hour week to 69 HOURS to IMPROVE work-life balance


South Korea‘s conservative government has proposed raising the nation’s 52-hour weekly working hours cap to 69 hours in a bid to improve work-life balance.

The labour minister said Thursday that increasing the cap by a third will give working mothers more choice and help them raise children amid growing concerns over the country’s falling birth rates.

South Korea’s employment minister wants longer work week to boost fertility.

South Korea’s proposal comes as the four-day workweek gains traction from Britain to California.

‘We’ll introduce bold measures to help cut working hours during pregnancy or while raising children,’ the minister, Lee Jung-Sik, told a media briefing when asked whether the labour reform proposal will help tackle South Korea’s fertility crisis.

South Korean lawmakers and protesters during an anti-government rally on Tuesday

However, critics of the reform have said that the measures will hurt, not help, working mothers and other women.

‘While men will work long hours and be exempt from care responsibilities and rights, women will have to do all the care work,’ the Korean Women’s Associations United said in a recent statement.

Also, the reform has been criticised by the opposition and unions as neglecting workers’ rights.

‘It will make it legal to work from 9am to midnight for five days in a row. There is no regard for workers’ health and rest,’ the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions said in a statement.

President Yoon Suk Yeol (pictured) on Wednesday ordered ‘bold measures’ to tackle the country’s fertility rate

The opposition Democratic Party, which introduced the 52-hour workweek in 2018, said the new plan risks increasing unemployment as it could allow employers to lay off workers and ask those who stay to work longer hours.

The ministry said the labour reform proposal, first unveiled in December and officially announced on Monday, is part of efforts to bring more labour flexibility and improve work-life balance in a country where many women are forced to choose between their career and raising children.

South Korea has the lowest fertility rate in the world – with just an average 0.78 children being born per woman in 2022.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.


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