SEOUL, Aug. 3 (Korea Bizwire) – The labor ministry plans to draw up guidelines on the after-work use of mobile messaging and other forms of social networking services, an official said Thursday, amid growing complaints about companies giving work-related orders via social media during off hours.
A growing number of people have complained about getting work-related orders via mobile messenger Kakao Talk and other messaging services after working hours. A Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey last year showed that 74 percent of office workers suffer because of the practice, with 60 percent of them saying they were extremely stressed out.
It also found that about 11.3 hours are spent a week handling work orders via smart devices while off duty.
The labor ministry plans to collect views from unions and companies on the practice by the end of the year while commissioning a research study to look into how widespread the practice is by industry, a ministry official said.
The ministry also plans to study France’s ban on using SNS to give work-related orders after working hours.
Officials said they’re considering adopting guidelines on the practice and encourage companies to follow them voluntarily rather than legislating a ban. They say it would be difficult to enforce such a ban in a nation used to long working hours.
“Many office workers are believed to be suffering from work orders coming via Kakao Talk even after taking off from work,” a ministry official said. “From the bigger perspective of improving long working hours, we believe this is a matter that must be fixed.”
Lawmakers have called for ending the practice.
Rep. Yoo Seong-min of the opposition Bareun Party introduced a legislative proposal in March to revise the Labor Standards Act in a way that recognizes the time spent on dealing with work-related orders given via SNS or other forms of communication after work as overtime.
Last year, Rep. Shin Kyoung-min of the Democratic Party also proposed a bill stating that companies should not be violating the freedom of private life of employees with off-hours orders via social networking services.