The South Korean government has backpedaled on its plan to increase the weekly working hours to 69 hours per week after receiving backlash from the country’s youth. Many individuals argued that the proposed plan would lead to the destruction of the nation’s work-life balance and negatively impact the overall health of employees.
The rise in working hours was part of President Moon Jae-in’s attempts to boost growth, which relied on stimulating productivity by working longer hours. However, with the nation already having one of the highest working hours in the world, the proposed increase faced elements of resistance, eventually resulting in its abandonment. The decision made by Jae-in to back-pedal on the plan depicts the government’s readiness to listen to the opinions of its younger citizens and their demands for better work conditions.
More Employment Opportunities for South Korea’s Youth
With this new decision, South Korea’s younger generation has reason to celebrate as it means they will have more opportunities to pursue their interests and hobbies outside of work. Additionally, it would also ease the unemployment rate, which has remained significant among young people due to companies’ reluctance to hire fresh graduates. Now, college graduates will be able to seek employment, including part-time work or internships, without working excessively long hours.
Furthermore, this decision sends a message to the government and employers in the country to prioritize their workers’ welfare and create work conditions that are conducive to performance, productivity, and well-being. As South Korea’s younger generation continues to gain prominence and voice their opinions, the country’s leadership might be more inclined to pay attention to their needs, thereby fostering greater economic stability, social cohesion, and sustainability.