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Smaller firms call for support measures over cut in working hours

All Headlines 17:04 March 08, 2018

SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- Smaller firms on Thursday demanded the government come up with measures to cope with the recent decision to reduce maximum working hours in the country to improve the living and working conditions of laborers.

Last week, the unicameral parliament approved a revision to the Labor Standards Act, reducing the maximum statutory working hours to 52 hours a week from the current 68 hours.

During a conference held by the Korea Federation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, the association introduced a report suggesting ways to cushion possible impacts from the revision, including subsidies to overcome shortages in manpower.

It also said the government should provide various financial benefits, including a deduction in social insurance fees, for workers who will be hit by a decline in real wages.

President Moon Jae-in said earlier this week the revision is a "valuable opportunity" to expand the number of jobs as the cut in working hours can lead to job sharing.

Each South Korean worked 2,069 hours on average in 2016, the second highest among member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Mexico ranked first in terms of longest working hours.

The revised law will be applied to companies with 300 or more workers from July 1, while firms with 50 to 299 workers and those with five to 49 workers will be subject to the new rule starting Jan. 1, 2020, and July 1, 2021, respectively.

This photo provided by the Korea Federation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises shows participants at a meeting in Seoul on March 8, 2018, to discuss measures to cope with the decision to reduce maximum working hours in the country. (Yonhap)


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