Shipbuilders, construction, broadcasting and IT firms have asked for an amendment to the new 52-hour workweek due to an inability to comply with the shorter hours, a local business organization said Wednesday.
In a seminar presided over by the Korea Employers Federation, officials from the affected industries called on the government to revise the 52-hour workweek regulation to reflect their respective situations.
An official from the Construction Association of Korea argued the revised rule should only be applied to construction projects secured by builders after the new system kicked off in July.
"If builders push workers to complete their projects obtained before the 52-hour workweek as scheduled, it may result in deterioration of quality or serious accidents at sites," he said.
Shipbuilding representatives said that offshore plant projects that require round-the-clock work by skilled personnel in the yard should be exempt from the shorter workweek altogether.
Such sentiments were echoed by those in IT and broadcasting, which require non-stop operations.
Labor experts said the government should consider amending the 52-hour workweek and apply selectively it to industries depending on the type of work, allowing exemptions for certain industries, such as venture firms and research and development centers.
South Korea cut its maximum workweek to 40 hours, plus 12 hours of overtime, from 68 hours in July to reduce chronic overwork. Businesses were granted a six-month penalty-free grace period to make the switch. (Yonhap)