SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — Although temporary work breaks, treatment, and counseling should be provided to emotional workers who suffer from abusive language and assault by customers, protection systems are not working as intended.
According to a recent survey of 2,765 emotional workers conducted by the National Network for Emotional Labor, 70.9 percent of emotional workers said ‘yes’ when asked if there was any difficulty in performing their duties due to customer demands.
In addition, 66.3 percent answered ‘yes’ to the question, “Do you get hurt in the process of dealing with customers?”
In particular, a year has passed since the enforcement of the Emotional Workers Protection Act, but it has been shown that the protection regulations are not working properly on the ground.
The protection law calls for measures such as posting a request to refrain from abusive language to customers to prevent emotional workers from suffering physical and mental pain, or preparing a manual for customer interactions that includes information on how to deal with these situations.
Business owners who fail to fulfill such obligations will be fined up to 10 million won (US$8,500) depending on the number of violations, and face up to one year in prison.
In the survey, however, only 31.5 percent said ‘yes’, and 52.4 percent said ‘no’, when asked whether the company would allow employees to take a break from work when hurt by a customer.
In addition, only 32.9 percent answered ‘yes’ to the question of whether there was a resting place to avoid abusive customers, while 53.3 percent answered ‘no’.
When asked whether their employer had a treatment or counseling program that supports workers psychologically, only 22.5 percent said ‘yes’, and 57.4 percent said ‘no’.
“Although the most important clause of the Emotional Workers Protection Law is the right to avoid abusive customers, the company takes issue with the occurrence of the complaint itself rather than the justification of the customer complaint,” said Lee Sung-jong, general secretary of the National Network for Emotion and Labor.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)