Will South Korea allow people to work 69 hours a week?

Currently, people in South Korea are allowed to work 52 hours a week, that is, 40 hours of regular work and 12 hours of overtime


The Government of South Korea is looking at certain reforms, which, if implemented, will permit employees to work up to 69 hours a week. The Government believes that this will allow better work-life balance. However, the Millennials and Gen Z of the country are not in favour of the proposal at all.

Presently, people are allowed to work for 40 hours (regular) and put in 12 hours of overtime in a week. That means, a total of 52 hours a week.

However, in March 2023, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol suggested allowing people to work up to 69 hours a week!

It is hoped that the implementation of this reform will help improve the falling birth rates in the country, which already has a very low fertility rate. In fact, South Korea reportedly had the lowest fertility rate, globally, in 2022.

More labour flexibility is expected to allow people to strike a balance between work and home, allowing women more time to raise children without compromising on their professional careers.

By allowing 69-hour work weeks, employers and employees may be able to reach an agreement regarding calculation of overtime by the week.

If workers are allowed to accumulate more overtime hours, in exchange for longer breaks, parents and those who have elderlies to take care of can look forward to benefit from meaningful breaks.

The proposal is yet to receive the approval of the National Assembly.

The youngsters in the country are not too happy about the proposal because they feel the country already has a reputation for its gruelling work schedules. They feel that such a proposal will push people to work more hours, putting their health and well-being at risk.

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