Labor Policies in South Korea

In 2018, the South Korean Labor Standards Act (the LSA) stated that an employee could work for a maximum of 52 hours instead of 68 hours per week. This rule would apply to different businesses on different dates, depending on the number of workers each business had. Businesses with 50 or more employees had to follow the 52-hour workweek rule starting January 2020.

There was a one-year grace period for businesses to comply with the change in law, so they had until January 2021 to get acclimated. Here are some other changes in labor policies in South Korea that have taken place over the years:

1.    Employers Must Issue Wage Statements

According to Article 48 (1), all employers must follow a wage ledger. Moreover, employees should be given full access to the ledgers so that they can review transactions.

This Act must be followed by all workplaces and businesses in Korea, including businesses that have less than five workers. In addition, the ledger will need to include details such as wage items, calculation methods, and full details of any wage deductions that may take place. (See also: Changes to South Korean Labor Laws)

2.    Working Hours for Pregnant Women

Previous labor policies in South Korea only allowed expected mothers, who were 12 to 36 weeks pregnant, shorten their work time by two hours a day. According to the amended policies, pregnant workers can now ask for a change in working hours at any time during their pregnancy.

This rule applies to all female workers, regardless of the company they work for. In case the employer does not follow these guidelines, they will be liable to pay KRW up to 5 million dollars in fines.

3.    Childcare Leave During Pregnancy

Initially, childcare leave was only available for employees who had children under the age of eight. Now, this leave has become available for pregnant workers as well. The Equal Employment Act now states that employees can split their childcare leave to twice a year. However, under the Amendment, this split limit does not affect pregnant employees. During pregnancy, childcare leave can be used without any limit in divided periods.

4.    Sexual Harassment Laws

Previously, if employers failed to take measures against gender discrimination or sexual harassment, the employer would be penalized. However, the new policies in place state that employees affected can apply for relief if the employer has failed to take action.

According to the change in labor policies in South Korea, a correction order will be issued that will contain measures such as appropriate compensation, improvement of working conditions and wages, and cessation of discrimination. In case the employer does not comply with the order, he will face a fine that will be directly imposed by the authorities.

Visit Global People Strategist closely for more updates on the change in labor policies in South Korea. Stay tuned!

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