SUWON, Sept. 6 (Korea Bizwire) — Despite the government’s decision to make October 2 a temporary national holiday, stretching this year’s Chuseok holiday out over 10 days, workers at small businesses and those on a rotational shift won’t be able to enjoy the so-called Golden Holiday.
While workers in the public sector or big corporations welcomed the cabinet’s approval of a temporary holiday to extend the Chuseok week to 10 days, the exciting news has little to no impact on many of the employees at small and medium sized companies, particularly manufacturers with deadlines to meet and rotational shift workers, who will most likely work through the Chuseok holiday.
An electrical circuit board manufacturer based in Gyeonggi Province is expected to remain open throughout the upcoming 10-day Chuseok holiday, with some 500 workers who will be rotating on three different schedules.
Given the fact that the company supplies its products to international clients, management argues it’s a decision they must take in order to meet their deadlines.
A worker from the electrical circuit board maker said, “If we don’t run our factory 24 hours a day at full capacity, 12 hours during the day and 12 hours at night, there is no way we can meet our deadlines.
“As the designation of a temporary holiday doesn’t push back our deadlines, we have no other choice.”
A display manufacturer in Pyeongtaek is expected to run 24 hours throughout the holiday also, with only one day off scheduled the next day for those who work 12 hours on a night shift.
“With deadlines around the Chuseok holiday, it’s impossible to extend days off (for factory workers) despite the newly designated temporary holiday. Instead, we are considering substitute holidays after the deadlines pass,” company officials said.
“I’d love to go on holiday with my family but the thought that someone else will have to give up their day off and replace my absence doesn’t allow me to do so. This time around, I can’t envy enough those who work during the day who are lucky enough to enjoy the 10-day holiday,” said Kim, who works at a private security firm on a night shift.
Some say the problem lies in the lack of enforcement of so-called temporary holidays on small and medium businesses.
“The temporary holiday policy mostly applies to the public sector only, and the enforcement is often left to the discretion of business owners in the private sector. However, only few small and medium sized companies have a specified rule for temporary holidays,” an official at the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry said.