All government computers in South Korea’s capital city Seoul will be automatically shut down at 8:00 pm every Friday to prevent employees from working overtime. South Korea has one of the most problematic cultures of working overtime in the world.
A government worker in South Korea works on average 1,000 more hours than their peers in other parts of the world. Authorities are concerned that the long hours could negatively impact workers’ health.
Seoul’s Metropolitan Government announced that they have a plan to prevent overtime work. Their technology-based fix forces computers to automatically shut down at certain hours.
A South Korean government employee works 2,739 hours annually, which translates into 10.86 work hours in a day, on average. The government’s solution to the problem will reportedly be rolled out gradually in the following three months.
Employees have been warned that their computer systems will turn off at 8:00 p.m. on March 30. On the second and fourth Friday next month the computer systems will be switched off at 7:30 p.m.
Government Workers Applying for Exemptions in Droves
Starting May, all government computers in Seoul will no longer function after 7:00 p.m. on Fridays. However, workers who want to be exempted from the general shutdown are able to apply for an exemption if they have special circumstances. So far, more than 67% of the city’s workforce have applied for an exemption.
A few weeks ago, the South Korean government passed a bill to slash the maximum number of working hours in a week to 52 from 68. On Tuesday, a government report showed that public servants work 1,000 hours more per year than their counterparts working in other OECD countries.
The OECD average working hours per year for government employees is 1,763. In South Korea, the most overtime working hours were clocked by Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries workers (158.3), Coast Guard workers (132.3), National Fire Agency agents (144.8), and Korea Customs Service officers (110.1).
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