69 Hours A Week? The Internet Reacts To South Korean Government′s Push To Increase Work Hours
Last month, the South Korean government proposed increasing the legal cap on weekly work hours from 52 to 69 to “improve work-life balance.” In 2018, the then-ruling Democratic Party introduced the 52-hour work week, which included 40 hours of regular work and a maximum of 12 hours of overtime. The Yoon Suk Yeol government wants to increase the overtime cap to 29 hours.
Since then, the proposition has drawn much attention, with people opposing and supporting it. The current government is hailing it as a positive step to help employees balance their time better. If the 69-hour work week is implemented, workers can stack up their overtime and earn longer time offs in exchange. But the critics feel it won’t be as straightforward as it appears. As it is, South Koreans are heavily overworked, and the primary concern around this plan is that it would give companies free rein to exploit employees.
They say that the total hours we work every year will stay the same or come down…But there’s always more work to do. We might now see more overwork-related deaths if there’s a 69-hour workweek.
—A South Korean employee of Samsung, The Washington Post
Several news outlets are currently reporting on this issue globally. Recently, a Reddit thread about it went viral as well. People from different countries weighed in with their perspectives on the proposed plan. A lot of the comments were surprised that the South Korean government is considering even longer work hours when it is scientifically proven to lower productivity and take a toll on birth rates.
However, there were some supportive sentiments too, as people pointed out that the 69-hour work week will be introduced as an option. The 29-hour overtime cap also seemed much better to some compared to the current scenario in other countries.
Some people also pointed out that this plan was entirely in the opposite direction to what some of the developed countries of the West are doing with four-day work weeks.
The Reddit thread made its way to a Korean blogging forum, where Korean citizens expressed either disapproval or embarrassment toward this plan.
- “Is this what the 50% voted for? Are they all employers?”
- “I wish they would die.”
- “Everyone seems to know…damn.”
- “Everyone all over the world knows it, but these people are working hard pretending they don’t get it.”
- “Who the hell elected these people, oh f*ck.”
- “No…are they kidding? F*ck.”
- “Only Yoon Suk Yeol supporters should work 69 hours.”
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