Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Major Korean Firms Set to Begin 5-Day Work Week July 1

Working hours for employees of large conglomerates, publicly-owned companies, finance, and insurance companies will implement a government mandated five-day workweek system.

The shortened workweek will affect some 1.8 million employees at 8,408 big companies this year.

Experts say the new system is expected to help improve the quality of life of workers.

The five-day workweek system, one of the demands of labor unions for the last decade, is already bringing a change to the lifestyle of working people.

Leisure and travel firms are seeing growing profits, while amusement parks and family recreation places are filled with people on weekends. Chosun Ilbo reports that the retail, service and education industries are determined to use the five-day workweek system as a chance to increase their profits.

Hyundai Department Store decided to provide free jazz dance, aromatherapy and wine classes. Educational academies are expecting their profits will increase more because the industry has shown growth since last year despite the economic recession.
Lee Ik-hoon of the English Institute said, “We have seen growth by 40 percent in the number of office workers who take Saturday courses since last September. In particular, the 10:00 a.m. classes on Saturday are the most popular among office workers because more and more people want to spend Saturday morning fruitfully.”


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