SEOUL, April 13 (Korea Bizwire) — While South Korea’s three big mobile carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus have trimmed weekly hours and are introducing various working arrangements for greater work-life balance, those on the front lines of the mobile industry are still struggling to do likewise.
Double digit working hours are the norm, with 38.7 percent, 17 percent and 6.1 percent of 1,000 individuals employed at mobile device stores reporting being on the job for 10, 11 or more than 11 hours a day, according to the findings of a phone survey conducted by the KMDA (Korea Mobile Device-distribution Association) in February and March.
Only 15.6 percent of all respondents said they worked 8 hours a day, while 22.6 percent described their average working day to be 9 hours long.
Getting time off was found to be a problem, as 78.9 percent said they only had one day off per week on average. At work, 28.3 percent said their workplace did not provide them an opportunity to take meals.
The fact that closing times for most stores go past eight in the evening (according to 84.5 percent of respondents) naturally leaves workers without much choice of putting in long hours.
With stores continuing to process customer requests for switching devices or setting up a new phone until ten at night, 50.2 percent said the so-called “computing operations” hours need to change.
However, though 67.6 percent favored shutting down operations before seven, 47.2 percent said a drop in revenues would be one of the consequences of the adjustment.
Research team leader Park Hee-jeong said, “The majority of workers desire a 52-hour work week, but they are worried about the loss in earnings and income that such a change would engender. Ultimately, cutting back on working hours can diminish revenues and shrink hiring.”
South Korea’s parliament passed a bill reducing maximum working hours per week from 68 to 52 in February that goes into effect in July. The conditions will initially apply only to large companies with 300 or more employees.