SEOUL, June 22 (Korea Bizwire) – As smartphones and tablet PCs have become readily available, the average working person spends an extra 1.44 hours per day or 11.3 hours per week using these devices for work related purposes.
Since using smartphones or tablets to do work after working hours can be considered as overtime, many people believe that companies should be compensating their workers with overtime pay.
According to a report called “Using Smart Devices for Work and Labor Law” published by Kim Ki-sun, a researcher at the Korea Labor Institute, and presented during the forum ‘Workers Afraid of Kakaotalk’ sponsored by the Korea Labor and Society Institute, the majority of working Koreans are suffering from a burden of after-work tasks due to smart devices.
The report was written after surveying 2,402 employees in the manufacturing and service industries.
Out of the surveyed employees, only 13.9 percent said that they do not use smart devices outside of working hours for work-related reasons. In other words, 86.1 percent of the surveyed workers are not completely “off work” even after their regular working hours.
About 20 percent of the 86.1 percent said they even spend more than two hours on smart devices for work.
On average, these workers spend 1.44 hours (86.24 minutes) per day on smart devices outside of their normal working hours, sacrificing weekends by working what some say amounts to undocumented overtime.
These workers use their smartphones to work on weekends for an average of 1.6 hours (95.06 minutes) per day, which is longer than on weekdays.
This additional time adds 677 minutes, or 11 hours, to their “paid” working hours per week.
The activity most affected by the extra working hours was sleep (44%).
The tasks that had to be performed with smart devices included ‘sending or receiving emails’ (63.2%), ‘creating and editing work-related files’ (57.6%), ‘processing or assigning tasks using work-related messenger or social media’ (47.9%),’ and ‘processing or assigning tasks using a work network system’ (31.3%).
This “after-work” using smartphones is a worldwide phenomenon, and European labor unions have already stepped in to address worker’s concerns by regulating this type of work through new collective agreements.
In Germany, companies are not allowed to call or send messages through a messenger or email outside of an employee’s regular working hours. France also enacted a law banning companies from sending work-related emails from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. the next day.
Volkswagen, a German car manufacturer, blocks off work communications using technology. The company email system on smartphones stops working 30 minutes after an employee’s work day is finished, and the server is turned back on 30 minutes before the next work day begins.
Daimler AG, another German car manufacturer, automatically deletes emails received during employees’ vacation time. Senders receive an autoresponder message notifying them of the employee’s absence, and providing contact information for another employee, to which the email is forwarded.
Researcher Kim from the Korea Labor Institute stresses that appropriate compensation should be paid for these “overtime” periods, otherwise this problematic behavior will continue.
“According to the Labor Standards Act, the time employees spend working through smart devices should be calculated and paid at one and one-half times their regular working hour rate of pay,” he added.
By Nonnie Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)