Constitutional Court upholds 52-hour workweek system

An employee of logistics company loads a delivery truck in Seoul, March 3, 2022. Newsis

An employee of logistics company loads a delivery truck in Seoul, March 3, 2022. Newsis

The Constitutional Court has ruled that a law restricting the workweek to a 52-hour maximum is in line with the highest law because it is designed to protect the health and safety of workers.

In a unanimous decision Thursday last week, the court said the Labor Standards Act specifying the 52-hour workweek has legitimate and appropriate purposes as it guarantees workers time to rest by reducing real working hours and discouraging overtime work on holidays.

The law, enacted in 2018, stipulates that work hours shall not exceed eight hours a day, and 40 hours a week, while extended work hours should be limited to up to 12 hours per week.

The court ruled that the need to resolve the problem of long working hours is greater than the freedom of contract and occupation that is hindered by the 52-hour workweek system.

“The legislators judged that it is important to improve the labor practices distorted by long work hours, despite damage done to workers themselves, including low wages,” the court said, adding that such judgments are not without rationality. (Yonhap)

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