Tuesday, October 15, 2019
S. Korea Considers Applying Flexible Working Hours System to R&D Workers
To Help Firms Cope with Japan's Export Curbs
S. Korea Considers Applying Flexible Working Hours System to R&D Workers
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • July 19, 2019, 10:52
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Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki answers questions from lawmakers during a parliamentary session at the National Assembly on July 18.

South Korea's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said on July 18 that the government is mulling whether to exempt research and development (R&D) workers from the shortened 52-hour workweek system.” This is part of plans to better cope with Japan's export restrictions on core materials for semiconductors to South Korea.

During a parliamentary session held on July 18, Liberty Korea Party floor leader Na Kyung-won said, “The ministry should exempt the R&D sector from the 52-hour workweek system to cope with Japan’s export retaliation.” Hong replied, “We are considering exempting the semiconductor R&D workers from the shortened workweek system.”

During a recent meeting with President Moon Jae-in, local business representatives complained that the 52-hour workweek system is negatively impacting their R&D projects which normally take about six months.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economy and Finance clarified Hong’s remarks. “The minister’s comment means that we are studying various means to solve problems in the R&D sector caused by the 52-hour workweek system. It does not mean that the 52-hour workweek system will not be applied to the R&D sector.”