South Korean companies, including SK hynix, Samsung Electronics, Kakao, and CJ ENM, are increasingly adopting a four-day work week, albeit in different frequencies.
POSCO, a prominent steelmaker, plans to introduce a biweekly four-day workweek for its office employees beginning January 22, maintaining the standard 40-hour workweek.
This new plan maintains the same number of working hours as a five-day week, requiring employees to work an extra hour for nine days (Monday to the next Thursday) and then enjoy a day off on Friday.
POSCO, which necessitates 24/7 operations due to the nature of steel manufacturing, becomes the first Korean company in the industry to embrace a four-day workweek alternative.
- The proposal for a four-day workweek was initially introduced by Posco’s management during last year’s collective bargaining to foster a more adaptable work environment.
- The current 12-hour rotating shifts covered by four teams at Posco’s steelworks in Pohang, North Gyeongsang, and Gwangyang, South Jeolla will be maintained.
- South Korea reduced the maximum weekly work hours from 68 to 52 in 2018, though it remains relatively high compared to other advanced economies.
- This shift is a response to the younger generation’s prioritization of work-life balance and is gaining popularity among major Korean companies to attract and retain top talent.
- In June 2023, Samsung Electronics introduced a once-a-month four-day workweek policy, allowing employees to take a day off every four weeks if they meet the minimum working hours.
- In 2020, SK Telecom and SK hynix, subsidiaries of SK, adopted comparable systems, offering employees the option to take a day off every two weeks or once a month, respectively.
- In 2022, South Korean employees worked an average of 1,901 hours in 2022, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data, ranking fifth among member countries and surpassing hours worked in Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States. While the OECD average was 1,752 hours.