Labor civic group “4-day week system must be adopted as general election pledge”… Democratic Party pledges to ‘eradicate 4-day work week’ and ‘free labor’

Labor civic group “4-day week system must be adopted as general election pledge”…  Democratic Party pledges to ‘eradicate 4-day work week’ and ‘free labor’


Launch of ‘4-day work week network’ including Federation of Korean Trade Unions

Lee Jae-myung, leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, is exercising before a policy meeting for office workers at a gym in Eunpyeong-gu on the 28th. Photo = Joint reporting team

A network of labor and civic groups has been launched calling for the introduction of a four-day work week and the eradication of long working hours.

The ‘4-day workweek network’ held a launch ceremony at the National Assembly on the 29th and urged the government to adopt the 4-day workweek as a general election pledge and legislate it to reduce working hours, work-life balance, gender equality, and respond to the climate crisis.

In addition to legislating the 4-day workweek, the 4-day workweek network also called for the establishment of a comprehensive plan to reduce working hours, the establishment of a ‘National Working Hours Committee’, and a change in the working hour system to eradicate long working hours.

The two major unions, the Federation of Korean Trade Unions and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, both included the introduction of a four-day workweek in their policy demands for this general election.

The 4-day work week network is centered around the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, and the Korean Women’s Trade Union, Youth Union, Union Center, Korean Women Workers’ Association, and Working Citizens Research Institute are participating. The Office and Finance Workers’ Union and the Health and Medical Workers’ Union under the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions also participated.

In their launch declaration, they argued that “shortening working hours is in line with the history of labor,” and “if the industrial structure and working methods are changing, the working time system of ‘social standards to be achieved’ must also change.”

“The thinking ‘What will happen to the economy if I only work for 4 days’ and the approach ‘I need 3 days of rest and recharge’ start from different philosophies and values,” he said. “However, now that we have escaped from a society where work has overwhelmed life, work and life are more important.” “We must seek a society where harmony is possible,” he emphasized.

At the launch ceremony on this day, the results of a survey of office workers regarding the introduction of the four-day week system were also introduced.

The Working Citizen Research Institute commissioned Embrain to conduct a survey of 300 wage earners aged 19 or older from January 14th to 16th, and the results showed that more than two out of three respondents, 67.3% (68.1% of regular workers, 66.7% of non-regular workers), supported the introduction of the four-day workweek.

In fact, some large domestic companies, such as Samsung Electronics, SK Group, POSCO, Kakao, and CJ ENM, have actively reflected a work style that emphasizes work-life balance by introducing a four-day work week. Also, Woowa Brothers and Yeogi Eottae Company are implementing a partial four-day workweek.

In addition, a flexible work system was introduced. For example, for employees who sleep a lot in the morning, instead of going to work at 9 a.m. and leaving at 6 p.m., the company maintains working hours but allows employees to work at times when they can be in full condition, thereby increasing productivity and work efficiency.

This appears to take into account the fact that simply sitting at a desk for a long time does not increase work efficiency or performance.

Some people are concerned that work performance may decline due to reduced working hours, but since each company is evaluated based on personnel evaluations, etc., employees have no choice but to focus on their own work. If you do not receive a good evaluation from a large company you worked hard to enter, it is a shortcut to recommended resignation.

Meanwhile, ahead of their demands, on the 28th, the Democratic Party of Korea announced a ‘customized pledge for office workers’ to expand the basic income tax deduction and promote the spread of the four-day work week system.

On this day, Lee Jae-myung, leader of the Democratic Party, along with Policy Committee Chairman Lee Gae-ho, visited a fitness center in Hongje-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul and announced the ‘4/10 general election pledge for office workers’, which included expanding the earned income tax credit.

First, the Democratic Party decided to raise the standards and limits for the income tax and earned income tax credit. The basic income tax deduction is planned to be increased from 1.5 million won per year per family member to 2 million won per year. In addition, a plan is being promoted to provide a 15% tax credit for sports facility usage fees paid by wage earners, up to a limit of 2 million won per year.

They promised to expand the scope of education expense tax deductions to include sports facilities, music, and art academies for elementary school children, and to also establish a communication expense tax deduction.

The Democratic Party also plans to come up with a plan to support companies that introduce a 4-day week or 4.5-day week to reduce working hours. We are also pursuing a plan to eradicate long working hours and free work by stipulating the ‘prohibition of the comprehensive wage system’ in the Labor Standards Act.

The Democratic Party also promised to establish a new ‘Local Love Vacation Support System’ to expand worker vacation support. If the applicant makes a reservation for the area to be visited in advance and utilizes local tourism infrastructure, the government and local government will each support a contribution of 150,000 won.

CEO Lee Jae-myeong emphasized, “We must spend healthy and fruitful time during leisure time,” and added, “Leisure activities such as cultural and sports activities should not be left to individuals, but national support is needed.”

Reporter Lee Dong-jun [email protected]

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