Parties pledge reduction in working hours to win votes

People queue up to cast their votes on the final day of early voting for the parliamentary elections at a polling station in Myeong-dong, Seoul, Saturday. Yonhap

Political parties have been rushing to present pledges to reduce working hours in a bid to win workers’ votes ahead of the April 10 general elections. Liberal and progressive parties appeared to be more dedicated to such pledges than conservative ones.Korea is notorious for being one of the highest in the world for annual working hours per employee. In 2022, the average yearly working hours per person in the country came to 1,901 hours, which was 149 hours more than the OECD average.The main opposition Democratic Party of Korea promised to implement a 4.5-day workweek, vowing to draw up supportive measures for companies that introduce such a system.

It also suggested banning the blanket wage system as a means to cut overtime hours. The blanket wage system refers to a wage calculation method used in Korea, under which workers are paid a fixed monthly salary regardless of how many extra hours they work.The minor progressive Green Justice Party has shown a willingness to establish a standard four-day workweek as well as giving 30 days of paid annual leave for all parents. It suggested expanding the pre- and post-natal break from work and raising parental leave benefits. It also promised to add five extra paid vacation days for all workers.Korea’s parental leave benefits average 44.6 percent of actual wages, placing it near the bottom of the list among OECD member countries, according to the organization’s Family Database.

The minor opposition Saemirae Party, for its part, rolled out its plan to reduce employees’ regular working hours from 40 hours a week to 35 hours. It also vowed to increase paid vacation days up to 25 days from the current 15 days.The ruling People Power Party made no particular pledges to reduce working hours. It instead included mandating one month of paternity leave, establishing paid child care leave for parents until before their child turns nine and allowing fathers to use childcare leave before the expected birth date in its policy to help tackle the country’s low birthrate problem.However, there’s a debate about whether pledges on reducing working hours and increasing vacation are realistic and economically feasible for Korea, with business insiders highlighting the different characteristics of each industry.Some also warn that abruptly changing systems could cause turbulence in the labor market, cutting employees’ wages and forcing them to find extra income opportunities, which could undermine the productivity of workers and firms 스포츠토토존 alike.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *