Nexon to start paying staff by the hour for overtime

By Lim Jeong-yeo
  • Published : Feb 26, 2019 - 16:23
  • Updated : Feb 28, 2019 - 15:17

South Korea’s biggest game company, Nexon, will scrap the practice of paying fixed overtime wages starting in August, the company announced Tuesday.

Paying employees a fixed overtime wage is a widespread practice among game companies here, and has been blamed for causing game developers to work an excessive number of hours.

“The most palpable difference is that we will now be paid for our overtime hours,” said Bae Soo-chan, the chief of Nexon’s labor union, called Starting Point. 

Negotiations between Starting Point and Nexon Korea have been ongoing since November, and this was their eighth round of talks.

They tentatively agreed on 79 clauses concerning overtime payment, flexible working hours, special accommodations for working mothers and more.

Starting Point will put the final agreement to a vote and will announce its members’ decision in early March.

Nexon, listed in Japan, has about 4,500 employees, of whom some 2,600 work for Nexon Korea.

About 30 percent of Nexon Korea employees are part of Starting Point, which was established in September and is the first and only labor union associated with any Korean game company.

Bae said 95 percent of Starting Point members voted in favor of changing the existing wage system.

“I cannot remember a time when the system wasn’t the way it is,” Bae said, “The entire game industry has always (raised its) collective voice against the widespread practice of paying a fixed overtime fee.”

Most game companies in Korea still pay a fixed overtime wage, but change is slowly taking root.

If Nexon Korea follows through with its promise in August, it will be the third game company to pay overtime wages based on the number of extra hours worked.

Another Korean company, WeMade, scrapped the old system at its affiliated developer firms starting last year and expanded the change to include the WeMade headquarters earlier this year.

Neople, a Nexon subsidiary, followed suit in January. Nothing is decided yet for Netmarble or NCSoft.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (