Annual working hours in S. Korea drop to 200: Report

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Seoul, March 3 (IANS) The average annual working hours for South Koreans fell by nearly 200 hours over the past decade but still remain about 150 hours longer than the average of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), data showed Sunday.

According to statistics from the country’s Ministry of Employment and Labour, the average accumulated working hours of a worker at a company with at least one employee came to 156.2 hours per month last year, 2.5 hours shorter than in 2022, Yonhap news agency reported.

The monthly 2023 average translates into a total of 1,874 working hours per year, the first-ever reading in the 1,800-hour range.

With the introduction of the 52-hour weekly work hour system in 2018, South Korea has seen a steady decline in its notoriously long working hours, the report said.

The average monthly working hours, recorded at 172.6 in 2013, which is equivalent to 2,071.2 hours per year, declined to an annual average of 1,995.6 hours in 2017 before dropping further below the 1,900-hour level last year.

Compared with a decade ago, the 2023 average monthly working hours declined by 16.4 hours, and the 2023 average annual working hours declined by 196.8 hours.

The 2022 annual average for South Korea still remains 155 hours longer than the average of 1,719 hours per year recorded among the member nations of the OECD. The gap translates into 13 hours longer working hours for South Koreans per month, the report said.

Of the 38 current member nations, only five nations, including Colombia, Mexico and Israel, had longer annual working hours than South Korea based on the 2022 OECD average, the report said.



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