S. Korea considering proposal for 69-hour work week

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Lerner, Mar 15, 2023.

  1. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    S. Korea considering proposal for 69-hour work week


    Ana Yoo
    Tue, March 14, 2023 at 11:20 PM GMT+1
    South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol is reviewing a new proposal calling to reform the work week maximum to 69 hours.

    In the proposal, which was set forth by the conservative labor ministry on Mar. 6, companies will be able to increase the maximum number of working hours in a week from the current 52 hours.

    The proposal will be under public review until it is sent to the National Assembly for approval no later than July.

    Since the proposal’s announcement, the government has faced intense backlash from South Korea’s Millennials and Generation Z — eponymously referred to as the “MZ generation” in Korea."

    In my previous employment I reported to a VP who came to US from S. Korea, he was a manager at Samsung for many years.
    A really good person to work with. He was telling us how they worked and I think Japan is the same or even tougher.

  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    At least their kids get to go to school. But that's because they live in a modern country. If they lived in a backwater, say Arkansas, they'd still be putting in the 69 hours, but it would be on a machine in a factory.

    (By the way, Arkansas, Indonesia called and asked if you would stop stealing their child labor techniques.)
  4. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    People work overtime but general work week in US is around 40 hours.
    Sadly, people put 70 hour week working overtime or have two jobs in order to provide for the family.

    Also nationwide US children have education available, US is a modern country.
    Education is available not only to US children but also undocumented, migrants. Our daughter when we lived in LA, at one time had 60 classmates.
    Indeed some areas require improvement.

    While there was time in my life when I worked 7 to 11 and more, there were ways to change it and I did changed it.
    Love our great USA.
    Glad I'm not living and working in S. Korea.

  5. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Would never have thought they’d have a 52 hour a week cap as a national policy or regulation. That seems painfully low as a maximum cap.
  6. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    That was a crazy story to read. Although not quite as bad, IMO, as the recent automotive manufacturers in the South.
  7. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    We don’t even have a labor hour maximum, outside of a few regulated industries! Even with South Korea expanding their maximum limit to 69 hours per week… that’s less then a lot of Americans regularly put in.

    Love our country as well. Although the recent news about median household wealth, not even topping the Top 15… painfully reveals how bifurcated our economy has become.
  8. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Elementary school math: Maybe it keeps employment figures at around 100%. If all workers are limited to 52 hours - and demand for products exceeds what they can make in that time, then - more workers will be needed. Keeps everybody in a job. :)
  9. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    We do - and we don't. Here's Ontario's regulation:

    "Thus, the maximum hours allowed to work in Ontario are 13 hours per day and 48 hours per week. However, as noted below, an employee and employer can agree in writing to exceed the maximum amount of hours per day/week in Ontario."

    So it's there but if both agree, it can be exceeded. And I'm sure in many places, if employees don't agree, they risk being replaced.

    Personal observation: these toothless "regulations" flutter to the ground and litter the wayside in many jobs. I'm sure there are many salaried people working overtime that is completely unpaid. Hourly - not much chance of that. Hourly and unionized - no chance at all.
    Rachel83az likes this.
  10. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    This is an idiotic response to their low birthrate, low marriage rate, and high suicide rate.
    Messdiener and Rachel83az like this.
  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    In the US, salary or hourly are merely ways to compute pay. They themselves have nothing to do with overtime. It's actually a matter of whether the employee is exempt or not.

    Exempt employees are those that are not subject to overtime rules. The largest part of that group are supervisors and managers. But other employees can be considered exempt, too. Professionals, people highly placed in the organization, people with access to sensitive information (like HR and executives' administrative assistants), etc. These can all be exempted. It is simpler to pay exempt employees by salary since they're getting one level of pay only. They're paid the same no matter how many hours they work.

    Non-exempt employees are everyone else. Because they are subject to overtime, their pay is computed hourly as to facilitate overtime pay for extra hours.

    Theoretically, non-exempt employees could be paid by salary and exempt be paid hourly wages. But it is customary for the reverse to be true. Unfortunately some workers who are non-exempt might not realize their eligible for overtime even though they're "salaried." This is a common confusion. People think hourly (overtime) and salary (no overtime), when the actual distinction is "exempt" and "non-exempt."
  12. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    But it helps with next quarter and next years financial forecasting, for both corporate and governmental metrics…
  13. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Thankfully, at least in the manufacturing and industrial sectors, more and more companies are providing overtime equivalencies for first and second tier supervisors and managers. While it’s often calculated differently, at least it is providing a more equitable compensation for workload demands.
  14. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    It's all over, now. President Yoon Suk-yeol has walked back the proposal. No more. It's said that he and his government are pro-business and were responding to business leaders' complaints that their companies couldn't make deadlines without a raise in the work week. Now Mr. Yoon has said the proposal is all off - and the government will, in future, be more responsive to the needs of Gen Z and millennials, the groups who led the protest. (Well, somebody, somewhere MIGHT believe that one, I suppose. :rolleyes: )

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/15/south-korea-u-turns-on-69-hour-working-week-after-youth-backlash#:~:text=The government had intended to,it difficult to meet deadlines.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2023
  15. Messdiener

    Messdiener Active Member

    As always, such short-term thinking will lead to disaster.

    At least someone has a good head on his shoulders!
  16. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Well, good enough to perceive intense pressure, back down to preserve his party and position - and pay lip service. That's something, I guess. He's probably fuming about it all... but at least he did the right thing.
    Messdiener likes this.
  17. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    This work-week thing does not really surprise me with a Conservative party like the People Power party, which Mr. Yoon is head of.

    Their pro-business attitude is not unlike the Conservative Provincial Government here in Ontario. Doug Ford's government has never gone as far as Mr. Yoon went, but they have seriously changed rights to overtime pay in Ontario. Instead of calculating overtime hours week by week, employers can now pay straight-time unless the total for two weeks is 96 hours or more. If you worked 8 o/t hours one week and none the next - too bad. You get straight time for the 8 hours.

    Politicians do what they think they can get away with. Mr. Ford's people calculated correctly and pleased their pro-business voters. Mr Yoon and his people overestimated - so he walked it back.

    South Korea has come a hell of a long way in the last 60 years or so. They've worked very hard - and very smart - to get where they are. They're not stupid - at all. And they value education. For example, there are over 40 colleges and universities within the city of Seoul.

    Sometimes their work ethic is way different to ours - but their country is not "stupid." They've just worked so hard for so long, that many are fearful about what might happen if they eased up.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2023
  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I don't agree with that particular work ethic, but I can see where and how South Koreans get this idea. They've only to look Northward to see a very, very bad alternative...

    "Hold On to What You Got"

    "You'd better hold on, hold on to what you've got
    You'd better hold on, hold on to what you've got
    'Cause if you think nobody wants it
    Just throw it away and you will see
    Someone will have it before you can count one, two, three
    Yes they will, yes they will ..."

    (Apologies to the late, great Joe Tex.)

    Education note: S. Korea has 202 Universities and 134 Community Colleges. Not too shabby for a country of 51.7 million people.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2023
  19. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    It's a good thing they're walking it back because the 52-hour work week was put in place because of South Korea's toxic work culture. People were being worked to death and driven to suicide. People don't want the added stress of children, so they're not procreating, which just makes the worker shortage worse. It's not like the U.S. where people mostly choose to work overtime.

    Plus, the extra work isn't worth it in South Korea because wages are comparatively low. A high cost of living and low wages are other factors contributing to South Korea having the lowest birth rate in the world. Replacement is a birth rate of 2.1; their birth rate is 0.78. South Korea can't work people to death to get out of their crisis; they're going to have to open up to immigration in the short-term. In the long-term, they can treat women better because there's a strong feminist movement there that's against having children and getting married.
  20. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    There are about 3,600 degree-granting institutions in the U.S. with a population of about 330 million. The US has 6 times the population, but 10 times the number of institutions. Given that Korea was largely devastated by the combined actions of the Japanese until the end of WWII and the Korean war in 1950-53, not bad at all.

    Another cool thing about Korea is how it transformed itself after these two cataclysms. As one of the East Asian Four Tigers (the "Asian Miracle"), South Korea created and used a strong qualifications framework to channel workers into needed professional and occupational lines of work. South Korea (at 36th) approaches Japan (28th) in per capita GDP. (For fun, China is 79th and Russia is 57th. The US is 13th, while the 12 nations above it are practically microstates. (Ireland and Norway are the exceptions.)

    South Korea is bad assed. North Korea (179th) is starving.

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