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Sun Dec 10, 2017, 02:44 AM

Company is the first in South Korea to cut working hours while maintaining wage levels

The Shinsegae Group, South Korea’s tenth largest chaebol, announced on Dec. 8 that it will be implementing a 35-hour workweek in January of next year, with its employees only working seven hours a day. Wages will not be cut, either. The legal workweek in South Korea is 40 hours, and this would be the first time for a chaebol to adopt a 35-hour workweek. Since Shinsegae has voluntarily taken this step to improve corporate culture while the Moon Jae-in administration is calling for a reduction in working hours, this is likely to have a major impact not only on the distribution industry but also on the South Korean business community as a whole.

Starting in January of next year, Shinsegae staff will be working a seven-hour day (not including a one-hour lunch break), going to work at 9 am and leaving work at 5 pm. Depending on the work involved, alternative schedules will be available, such as 8 am to 4 pm or 10 am to 6 pm. Since employees at E-mart branches are working morning and afternoon shifts, their working schedules will be adjusted to reduce their working time by one hour each day. The reduction in working hours will occur throughout Shinsegae’s 16 subsidiaries, which means the change will apply to more than 50,000 employees.

“South Korean culture is infamous for people working too long and took much, and this revolutionary innovation will provide our staff with a more relaxing lifestyle. We will create a corporate culture in which people can relax when they are off the clock and focus on their work when they are on the clock,” said a company spokesperson.

Shinsegae’s announcement is groundbreaking. As of last year, South Koreans worked an average of 2,069 hours a year – the longest work hours of any OECD member state except for Mexico. That was 306 more hours than the OECD average of 1,763. Work hours can be reduced by shortening the legally prescribed 40-hour workweek or by cutting down on overtime in the evenings and on the weekends.


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Reply Company is the first in South Korea to cut working hours while maintaining wage levels (Original post)
rpannier Dec 2017 OP
BigmanPigman Dec 2017 #1
PoindexterOglethorpe Dec 2017 #2

Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sun Dec 10, 2017, 02:51 AM

1. They tried to do that to me when I worked at Macy's

in Visual Display and the company was downsizing in 1993. However, there was a cut in pay but not benefits. I was called into the manager's office and reprimanded regarding someone overhearing me during a legal break in the lounge that we should form a union. The store closed and I changed careers (paid for by my own hard earned savings and Clinton's expanded unemployment payments from 6 months to a year). I became a teacher and one main reason was due to their union.
I then worked 50+ hours a week and was constantly sick from kids' germs but at least I had a union backing me.

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sun Dec 10, 2017, 03:00 AM

2. That's what happened in this country in the 1930s.

We went from a standard 60 hour week to a standard 40 hour week. The underlying intention was to provide more jobs for the unemployed. Business leaders screamed and kicked the whole way, and then to their astonishment discovered that the employees were MORE productive in 40 hours than they'd ever been in 60. (My mother was in the midst of her training to become an RN when that change occurred. I'm very sorry I never questioned her more closely about this.)

A while back I read a lengthy article (probably in the NYTimes but I'm not completely certain) that looked at the behavior of people in Silicon Valley and the intense work 100 hours per week standard they had. It concluded that not only were those kinds of hours crazy, but they were entirely counter productive, and that in fact the iphone would probably have come to market two years earlier had the employees working on it only put in 40 or at most 50 hours per week.

People cannot work at peak efficiency for much more than 8 hours per day on an extended basis. Which is one of the reasons that the relatively recent trend to have nurses work, 10 hour or 12 hour shifts is totally nuts. Personally, I do not want to be a patient of a nurse who is in the 11th hour of her/his shift. I've done shift work. I was an airline ticket agent at Washington National Airport, and there were many times when I worked 10 or 14 hours straight, but at least no one's life depended on me or my being alert.

Way back then, when I was an airline employee, I became aware of people who worked in the GO (General Office) of a different airline, who, at budge time, were putting in insane hours. 12, 14, 16 hours straight. I knew, based on my experience at the terminal, that it was simply not possible that they were performing with any kind of efficiency.

I've long thought that the justification for the hours medical interns put in make no sense. I do not want an exhausted beginning doctor to be taking care of me. And I do not want an exhausted fire fighter or police officer taking care of me. I want people who've had a decent night's sleep to be on the job.

Oh, and the hours beginning attorneys put in. Don't get me started.

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