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How many hours do they work in South Korea?


South Korea is one of the most industrious countries in the world. It has a thriving economy that is growing rapidly. This growth has been attributed to the country’s hardworking population. But, how many hours do they work in South Korea? In this article, we will discuss the average working hours in South Korea and why they work so much.

History of Working Hours in South Korea

South Korea has a history of long working hours. In the past, it was common for workers to work more than 60 hours a week. However, over time, there have been several government initiatives to reduce working hours. In 2004, the government implemented a 40-hour workweek for public sector workers. This was followed by a reduction in working hours for private sector workers.

Current Working Hours in South Korea

Currently, the average working hours in South Korea are around 52 hours per week. However, this is an average and many people work much longer hours than this. The legal maximum working hours are 68 hours per week but this is rarely enforced.

Working Culture in South Korea

The reason why people work such long hours in South Korea is due to the country’s unique working culture. In South Korea, there is a strong emphasis on hard work and dedication to one’s job. Workers are often expected to put in long hours and sacrifice their personal lives for their careers.

Effects of Long Working Hours on Health

Long working hours can have a negative impact on a person’s health. Studies have shown that people who work long hours are more likely to suffer from stress-related illnesses such as heart disease and depression. In addition, long working hours can lead to sleep deprivation which can affect overall health and wellbeing.

Government Efforts to Reduce Working Hours

The South Korean government has been making efforts to reduce working hours in recent years. In 2018, they introduced a law that reduced the maximum working hours from 68 hours per week to 52 hours per week. This law applies to companies with more than 300 employees.

Impact of Reduced Working Hours on the Economy

Reducing working hours can have a positive impact on the economy. Studies have shown that reducing working hours can lead to higher productivity and better job satisfaction. In addition, it can also lead to increased spending and a boost in the economy.

The Future of Working Hours in South Korea

It is likely that working hours in South Korea will continue to decrease in the future. The government has made it clear that they want to reduce working hours even further. This is in line with their goal of improving the quality of life for their citizens.

Reasons for Long Working Hours in South Korea

There are several reasons why people work such long hours in South Korea. One reason is the country’s focus on hard work and dedication to one’s job. In addition, there is a culture of competition in the workplace which can lead to workers feeling like they need to work longer hours to stay ahead.

Work-Life Balance in South Korea

Work-life balance is not something that is highly valued in South Korea. Due to the country’s focus on hard work and dedication, many workers struggle to balance their personal lives with their careers. However, there has been a shift towards a better work-life balance in recent years.


South Korea has a long history of long working hours. However, this is starting to change as the government makes efforts to reduce working hours. While there are still many challenges to overcome, it is likely that we will see a shift towards a better work-life balance in the future.

How long is the work day in South Korea?

South Korea’s current legislation permits a maximum of 52 work hours per week, which consists of 40 hours of standard work and an additional 12 hours for overtime. In 2018, the opposition Democratic Party introduced this policy while in power.

How many hours is a South Korea work week?

In 2018, a law was enacted in South Korea that restricts workers to a maximum of 52 hours of work per week, consisting of a 40-hour standard workweek combined with an additional 12 hours of overtime. This law remains in effect as of March 10, 2023.

What is the longest working hours in South Korea?

South Korean citizens work some of the longest hours globally, with an average of 1,915 work hours per year in 2021.

What time do Korean people start work?

Korean work hours are typically from 9 AM to 6 PM, which may seem similar to standard working hours in other countries. However, it’s important to consider the details of the contract and the actual work expectations before making comparisons.

What time do Korean eat dinner?

In Korea, people tend to eat their lunches early, usually between 12pm to 1pm, and dinner typically starts at 6:30 pm and finishes no later than 8:00 pm. Korean meals usually consist of a main dish such as rice or meat accompanied by 8 to 10 side dishes.

How long is lunch break in Korea?

Employees are entitled to 30 minutes of break time for every 4 hours of work. It is important to note that earning the break time requires working for at least 4 hours. Even if an employee works for 6 hours, they are still only entitled to 30 minutes of break time. The standard workday hours are typically from 9am to 6pm.

One of the challenges that South Korea faces in reducing working hours is the resistance from some employers who believe that long working hours are necessary for productivity and competitiveness. Another challenge is the social stigma attached to leaving work early or taking time off, which can make it difficult for workers to prioritize their personal lives.

To address these challenges, the government has been implementing various measures such as promoting flexible working hours and encouraging employers to provide more opportunities for employees to take breaks and engage in leisure activities. In addition, there have been efforts to change the culture of overwork by promoting a healthier work-life balance.

Despite these efforts, there is still a long way to go before a better work-life balance becomes the norm in South Korea. The pressure to work long hours and prioritize one’s career over personal life remains strong, especially in certain industries such as finance and law.

However, there is reason for optimism as more and more people recognize the importance of a healthy work-life balance. Companies that offer flexible working arrangements and prioritize employee well-being are becoming more attractive to job seekers. In addition, there are growing calls for change from younger generations who seek a better balance between work and personal life.

Overall, the future of working hours in South Korea looks promising as long as efforts to reduce overwork and promote a healthier work-life balance continue. By prioritizing employee well-being and productivity, South Korea can create a more sustainable and prosperous economy that benefits all its citizens.

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