In Western countries, such as the United States, the 5-day workweek has been the standard for a long time. For so long, that we sometimes forget that other parts of the world work a longer week.
South Korea is one such part of the world. A recent article in the English-language version of the Digital Chosun reports the following in response to South Korea’s plan to adopt a 5-day workweek as the standard:
- Unlike the nation’s financial sector and major conglomerates that are jumping on the bandwagon to join the five-day workweek system, recent data show only 2 in every 10 small and medium manufacturers are considering the early adoption of the shortened work hour program.
According to data released by the Small and Medium Business Administration on Saturday that surveyed 1,132 SMEs during the month of October only 2.4 percent or 27 companies were found to take every Saturday off.
The study showed about 35 percent of the surveyed manufacturers operated during morning hours on Saturdays, 31 percent worked every other Saturday while 28 percent worked full-time. ***
As for the reasons for these companies’ lukewarm support to the adoption of the shortened work hours, companies expressed concerns over expected hike in labor costs and a setback in production. ***
Of course, even in the United States, competitive pressures routinely require small businesses to work longer workweeks. For example: if the industry requires it (retail), or if the business status requires it (startups and entrepreneurial ventures), or for various other reasons.