SEOUL, May 11 (Korea Bizwire) — A South Korean court has ruled that even when a worker’s overtime hours are not longer than the standard level designated by the government, his or her death can be acknowledged as an occupational accident as long as there was significant workplace stress.
The Seoul Administrative Court recently ruled in favor of the spouse of a deceased man who filed a suit against the state-run Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service (KCOMWEL) following their decision not to pay out survivor benefits and cover funeral expenses.
The man, who joined a research institute in 1996, fell down at work in April 2019 and died at the age of 52. The cause of death was multiple organ dysfunction syndrome resulting from acute myocardial infarction.
Based on the fact that the man suffered from stress after being promoted to a team leader ten months earlier, the bereaved family asked the KCOMWEL to pay the survivor benefits and funeral expenses. The latter, however, rejected the request.
For 12 weeks, four weeks and one week before his death, his weekly work hours averaged 41 hours and 22 minutes, 46 hours and 56 minutes and 44 hours and 11 minutes, respectively.
The KCOMWEL claimed that such weekly work hours are shorter than 52 hours, the standard level to be designated as an occupational accident under the notice of the Ministry of Employment and Labor.
The court, however, ruled that after being promoted to team leader 10 months before his death, the deceased had to manage the entire spectrum of administrative work as well as to take on a vast range of tasks and a workload that could have served as a huge burden and stress for him.
J. S. Shin (email@example.com)